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FIRED UP! How to Recharge the Brain and the Mental Health Connection

Part 1 of the series: How to Recharge the Brain and the Connection to Mental Health


Is it fair to say that most of you (if not all) reading this likely know someone impacted by a mental health challenge?


If you knew about a mental health treatment strategy that is 1.5 times MORE effective than medication and drugs, would you share that with someone you care about?


That strategy is...



Exercise!


Now how about that, right!? I know it is not really news or even a new idea. However, recent research from the University of South Australia found this very strategy for depression, anxiety and stress - with over 120,000 participants!!!


That is exciting news! Why?


Well, in the current healthcare climate that we find ourselves in here in Nova Scotia (and much of Canada, too), there is a shortage of doctors. Emergency rooms are also short-staffed with long wait times. So even getting in to see a doctor for a referral to a therapist could be challenging. You may not need a referral to a private practice if you have great benefits. However, there are also long wait times to see those specialists, which can take many months, and that may not be a timeline that works for you.


Why is this important? Well, to get a prescription for medication, often, it has to come from a mental health professional. Some doctors are willing to prescribe (if you have a doctor or can get in to see one... see above). However, there is a vast array of prescription medications, and they affect everyone differently. Even finding the proper dosage, if you find the right drug, can take many visits to the doctor over several months (ummm... see doctor problem above).


Medication and therapy (like counselling) are likely the two most recommended treatment strategies for mental health issues. They can be very effective... if you can get that treatment when you need it.


What else is in the toolbox for managing mental health? Nutrition is essential. There is a monstrous amount of information out there, and it can feel like it takes a Ph.D to figure out who you should listen to for your unique human body. Professionals like Dr. John Berardi and Jeff Cavaliere have done great work to help sift through some of it. The Rosetta Stone may have been easier to decipher, though.


Sleep is gaining a lot of ground these days by professionals like Dr. Peter Attia and Andrew Huberman, Ph.D. It has become a vital element in the toolbox of managing mental health (it's not just for recovery and rest anymore). Among some of the fantastic things that good quality and sufficient quantity of sleep help to manage are the brain's executive functions. When we don't get proper sleep, it can have some adverse outcomes impacting our lives both professionally and personally. Some of these include poor memory and attention, difficulty organizing and planning, rapid mood swings, socially inappropriate behaviour, and loss of interest in activities... Kind of important, right?


And now we arrive at my favourite part... Exercise. You could say it gets me 'fired up' and should be at the top of the list of your toolbox strategies. Why? Well, it is vital in helping recharge the brain and the mental health connection, which I will discuss in part 2, so stay tuned.


- Marc Gaudet

President & CEO Corporate Kick Wellness (a division of Tough Monkey Physical Training Ltd.)

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