I hope everyone is having a nice weekend. Today, I am going to blog about how exercise helps mental health. All of the medication that I am on for my manic depression and bipolar II disorder has made me gain a lot of weight over the past few years. Looking at myself in the mirror has gotten very depressing which effect’s my mental health. My clothes don’t fit me and I keep going up in size. This past fall I purchased an elliptical to help get me motivated to work out. I figured that if I spent money on a nice elliptical that I would use it. Something needed to change because I was in a lose-lose situation, since I can’t get off of my medication and I can’t seem to lose weight because of it.

Purchasing the elliptical was the best purchase I’ve made. I haven’t lost a lot of weight, however, I feel so much better about myself. When I’m not in a manic depression I usually work out 4-5 times per week. I’ve also started adding weights into my workout. When I am in a deep depression, I still try to get myself to workout a couple times per week if I’m not “stuck” in bed. Getting myself to workout can be a challenge but once I start I’m pretty good about pushing myself to keep going and have a good workout. I love how I feel when I am done.

According to Psychologytoday.com, ” Exercise directly affects the brain. Regular exercise increases the volume of certain brain regions – in part through better blood supply that improves neuronal health by improving the delivery in oxygen and nutrients; and through an increase in neurotropic factors and neurohormones that support neuron signaling, growth, and connections. Of critical importance for mental health is the hippocampus – an area of the brain involved in memory, emotion regulation, and learning…Evidence is accumulating that many mental health conditions are associated with reduced neurogenesis in the hippocampus. The evidence is particularly strong for depression. Interestingly, many anti-depressants – that were once thought to work through their effects on the serotonin system – are now know to increase neurogenesis in the hippocampus.” Neurogenesis refers to the process by which neurons of nerve cells are generated in the brain.

As many of you know, this week was really rough for me. The past few days I have gotten back to working out and I feel so much more like myself. I know how hard it may be for you to get yourself to exercise when you are down or even up, but try and push yourself. It will help to increase neurogenesis which will help you feel better!

To my new followers, welcome to Smiling Through Tears. This blog is a daily account of my struggle with mental health disorders. To all of my returning followers, thank you for supporting me and following my journey.

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