Yoga & Lifestyle

We are proud to partner with Lauren Parente and her Realtors Giving Back team as we provide an outlet for cancer survivors struggling with mental health. The timing could not be better for us to join forces, as a healthy home and a healthy mind rely on a strong foundation.
http://yogaandlifestyle.com/

Yoga & Lifestyle was founded in 2011 in order to support and foster a sense of mindfulness, and optimal health in the surrounding community.

They offer a variety of approaches to achieve and maintain an exemplary healthy lifestyle for all. Whether you are experiencing pain, or simply want to improve your physical and mental well-being.

Yoga & Lifestyle provides a healing and friendly environment for all its clients. Their main goal is to ensure all of our members are the best version of themselves by connecting their minds and bodies. Their programs are designed to honour one’s self by developing a healthy motivational process.

How Cancer Impacts Mental Health

Serious illnesses can have an impact on one's mental health. For patients, their families,
and caregivers can be a tumultuous experience. Receiving a devastating cancer diagnosis, undergoing various treatment protocols, and learning to live with any side-effects can be a daunting experience and cause depression for many patients. Taking care of the patient's mental health is a crucial part to cancer treatment and well-being.

There have been various studies over the years which link both cancer diagnoses and cancer treatment to mental health concerns such PTSD (due to traumatic experiences with the disease, etc.) and/or depression (as a side effect of chemotherapy and/or radiation, coming to terms with the diagnosis, etc).

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Most people know that regular exercise is good for the body. However, exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood. The best part is, you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better.

Exercise is not just about aerobic capacity and muscle size. Of course, exercise can improve your physical health and your physique - trim your waistline, and even add years to your life. However, this is not what motivates most people to stay active. Individuals who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. It’s also powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges.

Exercise For Depression

Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication—but without the side-effects. In addition to relieving depression symptoms, research also shows that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent you from relapsing.

Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good. Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.

Exercise and Anxiety

Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins. Anything that gets you moving can help, but there’s a bigger benefit if you pay attention instead of zoning out.

For example: try to notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the wind on your skin. By adding this mindfulness element—really focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise—you’ll not only improve your physical condition faster, but you may also be able to interrupt the flow of constant worries running throughout your mind.

Exercise and Stress

Have you ever noticed how your body feels when you’re under stress? Your muscles might be tense, especially in your face, neck, and shoulders, leaving you with back or neck pain, or even painful headaches. You may feel a tightness in your chest, a pounding pulse, or muscle cramps. You may also experience problems such as insomnia, heartburn, stomach aches, diarrhea, or frequent urination. The worry and discomfort of all these physical symptoms can in turn lead to even more stress, creating a vicious cycle between your mind and body.

Exercising is an effective way to break this cycle. In addition to releasing endorphins in the brain, physical activity helps to relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. Since the body and mind are so closely linked, when your body feels better so, too, will your mind.

Exercise and ADHD

Exercising regularly is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the symptoms of ADHD and improve concentration, motivation, memory, and mood. Physical activity immediately boosts the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels—all of which affect focus and attention. In this way, exercise works in much the same way as ADHD medications such as Ritalin and Adderall.

Exercise and PTSD & Trauma

Evidence suggests that by truly focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise, can help your nervous system become “unstuck” and begin to move out of the immobilization stress response that characterizes PTSD or trauma. Instead of allowing your mind to wander, pay close attention to the physical sensations in your joints and muscles, even your insides as your body moves. Exercises that involve cross movement and that engage both arms and legs—such as walking (especially in sand), running, swimming, weight training, or dancing—are some of your best choices.

Outdoor activities like hiking, sailing, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and skiing (downhill and cross-country) have also been shown to reduce the symptoms of PTSD.

Overcoming Mental Health Obstacles to Exercise

Now that you know that exercise will help you feel much better and it doesn’t take as much effort as you might have thought. However, taking that first step is still easier said than done. Exercise obstacles are very real - particularly when you’re also struggling with mental health. Here are some common barriers and how you can get past them.

Feeling exhausted: When you’re tired or stressed, it feels like working out will only make it worse. However, the truth is that physical activity is a powerful energizer. Studies show that regular exercise can dramatically reduce fatigue and increase your energy levels. If you are really feeling tired, promise yourself a 5-minute walk. Chances are, you’ll be able to go more than just 5 minutes.

Feeling overwhelmed: When you’re stressed or depressed, the thought of adding another obligation often seems very overwhelming. Working out just doesn’t seem doable. If you have children, managing childcare while you exercise can be a big hurdle. Just remember that physical activity can help us do everything else better. If you begin thinking of physical activity as a priority, you will soon find ways to fit small amounts into a busy schedule.

Feeling hopeless: Even if you’re starting at “ground zero,” you can still workout. Exercise helps you get in shape. If you have no experience exercising, start slow with low-impact movement a few minutes each day.

Other Mental and Emotional Benefits of Exercise

Sharper memory and thinking: The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand. Exercise also stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age related decline.

Higher self-esteem: Regular activity is an investment in your mind, body, and soul. When it becomes habit, it can foster your sense of self worth, make you feel strong and make you feel powerful. You’ll feel better about your appearance and, by meeting even small exercise goals, you’ll feel a sense of achievement.

Better sleep: Even short bursts of exercise in the morning or afternoon can help regulate your sleep patterns. If you prefer to exercise at night, relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching can help promote sleep.

More energy: Increasing your heart rate several times a week will give you more get-up- and-go. Start off with just a few minutes of exercise per day, and increase your workout as you feel more energized.

Stronger resilience: When faced with mental or emotional challenges in life, exercise can help you cope in a healthy way, in lieu of resorting to alcohol, drugs, or other behaviours that ultimately have a negative impact on your symptoms. Regular exercise can also help boost your immune system and reduce the impact of stress.

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