Yep, it’s October! The month of welcoming in the Fall season and all it has to offer. The leaves should be starting to change color, colors that should make you feel good inside, especially if your sipping on a warm cup of apple cider, (freshly pressed of course!). People are gearing up for the yearly “Fright Night” of Halloween. People just may be thinking ahead to the first frost and what it may lead up to in the way of, I hate to say it, but SNOW! For a lot of us it gets us anticipating the upcoming holiday seasons, with Thanksgiving not too far off and Christmas just a hop, skip and jump after that.
But for others, this time of year can make them feel anxious and alone. Especially when they are amongst co-workers, family, and friends that embrace this time of year as a happy one, when they, themselves feel depressed and misunderstood.
That is why October is also known as “National Depression Month”. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an estimated 16 million adults, almost 7 percent of the population, had at least one major depressive episode in the past year alone. Depression is a mood disorder and a medical condition that should be taken seriously
Left untreated, depression can be devastating for those who suffer from it as well as their loved ones whose lives can also be affected indirectly. Unfortunately, only about a third of those suffering from severe depression seek treatment for the disease. Treatment can include individual therapy, group therapy, medication, or lifestyle changes such as diet, sleep, and exercise changes.
Most healthcare specialists recommend those that suffer from this disease, and it is a disease! Need to focus on helping themselves by:
With a balanced diet
Get Plenty of rest:
This is a key factor in helping your body to be able to function properly, well rested.
An important factor in a healthy body and mind is to get more physical. Making exercise an important part of your everyday lifestyle
Goals: Utilizing predetermined set goals that you can work towards.
Positive Thinking: Using your mindset to create a fitness regimen that you can focus on rather than focusing on the negative aspects of your life.
Exercise is probably one of the most highly recommended ways to help combat depression in a person’s life by making sure those fitness goals your setting for yourself are attainable. You do NOT want to put your goals so far out there that you miss the mark, rather than hitting it!
Focusing on physical fitness and a realistic exercise program, whether it’s starting off just walking, or running if your physical condition warrants it, or hitting the gym and engaging in some "Core" building exercises or strength building. All or just one of these programs can help you focus your mind, and body on getting in better shape and it takes a proper mindset to help accomplish this!
When you have depression or anxiety, exercise often seems like the last thing you want to do. But once you get motivated, exercise can make a big difference. Working out and other forms of physical activity can definitely ease symptoms of depression or anxiety and make you feel better. Exercise may also help keep depression and anxiety from coming back once you're feeling better.
Regular exercise may help ease depression and anxiety by:
Releasing feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals (endogenous cannabinoids) and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being
Taking your mind off worries so you can get away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression and anxiety
Regular exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits, too. It can help you:
Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
Getting more social interaction. Exercise and physical activity may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood.
Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage depression or anxiety is a healthy coping strategy.
In order to gain that positive structure as you begin your exercise program, it’s essential to set those attainable goals that we mentioned above. With those goals set, you need a way to track your progress as you strive to reach and then pass the goals you’ve set for yourself. And once you’ve met those goals, you then need to set new ones to continuously push yourself to the next level, then the one after that and so on.
The best way to track your progress is with an activity monitor. There are many different types and brands out there on the market. Most have the basic functionality of tracking steps, calories burned, and distance traveled. But choosing the right one for you depends really on you, and what form of exercise training your planning on doing.
One activity tracker that can take you from the start of your exercise journey to infinity and beyond is the Garmin Vivosmart 4 Wellness and Fitness Tracker The Garmin Vivosmart 4 will not only track your daily activity, but it will also give smart notifications from your phone, track stress levels and has a pulse ox sensor. This "Smart" activity tracker has a bright, easy to view display area and includes advanced sleep monitoring with REM sleep and can gauge blood oxygen saturation levels during the night, with its wrist-based Pulse Ox Sensor.
To help you monitor your day to day stress levels, which can trigger a bout of depression the Vivosmart 4, besides having a wrist-based heart rate monitor, also has an all-day stress tracking feature. It prompts you when it’s time to stand back from everything and take a breather. This is a great aid for those that need to watch their anxiety levels.
Naturally, it has everything you need in order to track your fitness activities: walks, runs, strength training sessions, swimming in a pool-(Yes, its waterproof!), even taking a yoga class.
And it can provide you with alerts for your notifications, so you won't miss any calls that you deem important. It also has a great battery that will keep tracking your daily progress for up to 7 days, (excluding Pulse Ox sleep tracking)
So, what exactly is Pulse Ox sleep tracking? The Pulse Ox sensor on Vivosmart 4 estimates your body’s blood oxygen saturation level. Your Pulse Ox measurements are dependent upon a number of factors, including your overall health and fitness. Checking your Pulse Ox can help gauge how your body is absorbing oxygen.
The Vivosmart 4 comes with a redesigned heart rate sensor, VO2 max tracking, and all the usual activities like - running, walking, strength training, and swimming.
Using the Elevate™ heart rate data collected from your wrist, Vivosmart 4 can, with a VO2 max estimate provide you with an idea of your current fitness level. In general, as your aerobic fitness increases, your VO2 max does the same. Based on your VO2 max, Vivosmart 4 is also able to estimate your fitness age, a stat that you may be able to decrease over time with hard work and exercise. For added insight, Vivosmart 4 will notify you if your heart rate unexpectedly rises above a threshold you’ve set. If you’re inactive for more than 10 minutes and your heart rate stays above your set threshold, you’ll get an alert, you should then think about seeing your physician.
Keep in mind that the mental health benefits of exercise and physical activity may last only if you stick with it over the long term. That is why it’s so very important that you approach an exercise program with the idea that you are doing something to help yourself deal with your anxiety and depression. By becoming physically active and embracing your exercise training as a healthy new lifestyle you can turn a negative into a positive and be on the path to living a life that has you accomplishing goals that you can be proud of.
Please remember to consult with your physician, or mental health professional for guidance and support, and get their opinion on an exercise program that will best fit your overall treatment plan. If you are not currently seeking professional help for your depression, please follow up with your doctor to make sure you are physically able to begin an exercise program.