I&A has just begun a pilot program we are calling TheraFit. (Therapy and Fitness)
It was birthed by one of our therapists in her quest to aid in the support of those who suffer with depression and/or anxiety. The premise is that a healthy mind-body agreement is vital to overall mental health and the endorphins required in the physical exertion affects depressive and anxious symptoms in a way that medication cannot.
We are so excited about this project. We have 16 participants for the pilot program. They meet with two professional coaches twice a week for a group workout at their individual fitness level and a positive quote of the week as the backdrop. The way it works is that each person is given a pre-mid- and post-depression and anxiety assessment. At each workout session, they also track their pre and post levels of anxiety. These levels will be benchmarked and tracked for progress for each participant to see the overall effects of this combination of therapy and fitness for eight weeks.
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 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 you’ll get a bigger benefit if you pay attention instead of zoning out say authors, Lawrence Robinson, Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Melinda Smith, M.A.
All participants are also involved either in individual therapy and/or group therapy. Because nearly 1 in 4 Americans have some type of mental illness each year, with depression ranking as the second leading cause of disability, there is also a nutrition plan that supports healthy brain function because we all know…”we are what we eat”.
“Traditionally, we haven’t been trained to ask about food and nutrition,” says psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD, an assistant clinical professor at Columbia University. “But diet is potentially the most powerful intervention we have. By helping people shape their diets, we can improve their mental health and decrease their risk of psychiatric disorders.”
“A very large body of evidence now exists that suggests diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health,” says Felice Jacka, president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research. “A healthy diet is protective and an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for depression and anxiety.”