Dealing With Tragedy, Anxiety and Depression by Exercising

New York Marathon for 2012 is Canceled Due to Hurricane.

City of New York and NYRR Announce Race Cancelation
The City of New York and New York Road Runners announce that the 2012 ING NYC Marathon has been canceled. While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division. We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event — even one as meaningful as this — to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to help New York City recover from the storm. New York Road Runners will have additional information in the days ahead and we thank you for your dedication to the spirit of this race. The Expo will remain open tomorrow.

Its hard to let months and months of preparation go when your target race has been canceled. It’s harder still to run when you know that your brothers and sisters who are resident of that race venue are racing to rebuild after the life they have prepared for years is washed away. Regardless, as our thoughts and prayers go out to those whose lives were touched by Sandy, we also pray for our marathon brethren and their families.

Taking stock in disaster and tragedy is important but can lead to distressed mental health. While running and exercise may seem like the wrong thing to do or the furthest thing from a priority, the benefits of exercise on mental health are well documented. You have heard of the physiological benefits of exercise on diseases such as diabetes but did you know that the psychological benefits of exercise can reduce and even eliminate depression and anxiety?

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, “numerous mental health benefits from physical activity, especially as it relates to depression. A 2006 study showed higher levels of sport participation and physical activity were linked to lower levels of depression, and that exercise can encourage better self-perception….”
Source: Mental Health Benefits of Exercise for Adolescents

If you are suffering from depression or anxiety due to a tragic event such as Hurricane Sandy, we encourage you to take 30 minutes out of your day to exercise. whether you are used to running, cycling, swimming attending aerobics classes or maybe you’ve never lead an active lifestyle, exercise is mental medicine. If you’ve never exercised before and are overwhelmed, stressed or suffering from psychological disorder, start with a 30 minute walk down the road. Breathe in deep a few times, hold it for a second or two and then let it out. if that is still too much for you, try breaking the 30 minutes up into 3—10 minute walks. then progress slowly throughout the month until you can walk for 30 minutes at a brisk pace without stopping. You will be surprised how this simple workout will help over time.