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5 Proven Ways Exercise Can Lift Depression and Anxiety - With Dr. Jennifer Heisz

Stress can help us to adapt and become more resilient, but when stress is long term, it can lead to depression and anxiety.

There's a LOT of stress in the world right now and anxiety and depression are on the rise.

Dr. Jennifer Heisz (pictured above) speaks openly about her struggles with mental health and how exercise has changed her life through its effects on her brain and her mental health journey. Photo Credit: Paulina Rzeczkowska

Click my podcast logo below to listen to the episode now!

The first-line treatment for major depressive disorder is currently antidepressant medications. Therapy and other medications are also available, as are other medical treatments. Unfortunately, medications don't work for everyone and can come with unwelcome side effects.

One treatment that has been researched more heavily over the last decade is exercise. Exercise is a treatment that can be an adjunct or stand-alone, and there's a lot of data to suggest exercise is a very powerful treatment if barriers to starting and sticking to it can be overcome.

Dr. Jennifer Heisz - Author and Neuroscientist

Dr. Jennifer Heisz just authored her first book, Move the Body Heal The Mind, and I

can attest, it's INCREDIBLE! Photo Credit: Paulina Rzeczkowska

In this episode Neuroscientist Dr. Jennifer Heisz, who recently authored a book on exercise and mental health called "Move the Body, Heal the Mind," walks us through some very insightful relationships between exercise and the brain and what type, duration, and intensity of exercise you may benefit most from.

Dr. Heisz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University and directs the NeuroFit Lab. She received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience (McMaster) and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Brain Health and Aging at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Hospital in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Heisz shares some of her own stories about her struggles with mental health, in the hopes that her story can help reduce the stigma that is still very present in society around mental health.

I feel blessed to have had this conversation with Dr. Heisz. She is truly an incredible and courageous woman, doing very important work in a field that will make an important difference in millions of people's lives.

Pictured above is Dr. Heisz completing her SOLO IRONMAN! You must listen to this story!

Photo Credit: Paulina Rzeczkowska

Topics Discussed in This Episode

  • How long term stress impacts the body, brain, and mood disorders.

  • The global effects of the pandemic on depression and anxiety.

  • Antidepressant drug resistance and exercise

  • How inflammation impacts the brain and our mood.

  • How exercise can affect inflammation and mood.

  • How long do you need to exercise to benefit your mood?

  • How exercising your muscles can protect your brain.

  • How Dr. Heisz overcame a panic attack during competition and what she learned

  • How to overcome the barriers of motivation when struggling with depression

  • Prescribing exercise to patients - what's changing?

  • What is the resiliency factor in the brain, and how can exercise improve it?

  • Heart disease and depression - what you need to know

This is one of the most important episodes I've recorded because mental health matters.

If you know anyone who can benefit from this episode, please share it with them, share it on your social media pl