Hike or Walk And Stop Depression!

Meet an Austin Psychiatrist on Town Lake! Taking a walk or hike really helps with depression. If you hike or walk you could possibly stop depression in its tracks! Meet me for a hike and let’s exercise on the Town lake trail!  If you do (with or without me) on a regular basis you are fighting off your chances of depression.  Forget the psychotherapy and psychiatric medications for today’s blog.  Those are important, but exercise on its own can really help keep those blues away.  I’m dusting off my running shoes and pen to write an exercise blog. Why? Because we have more research evidence for the benefits of exercise.

Jordan Smoller, MD  helped us understand just a little bit more about how important exercise can be in his November 2019 article in Depression and Anxiety.  In the article, he outlines how exercise can significantly decrease the risk of depressive episodes. That’s even in individuals who have a higher genetic risk!

Hike or Walk to Help Mental Health

Take A Walk And Help Depression

Don’t Forget To Remind Yourself That A Walk or Hike Is Vitally Important For Depression And More!

Thanks, Dr. Smaller for the reminder that exercise is vitally important!  So let’s talk about an amazing place to get moving in Austin, TX!  How about Town Lake?  What a great place!  First, let’s start with the trail.  It is 10 miles long stretching from Mopac all the east of Interstate 35.  Don’t worry there are many places to enter and exit the trail.  You can choose how much of the 10 miles you use.  The entire trail offers different kinds of scenic beauty and some of the best people-watching in Austin.  Move through areas that are forested and shaded.

Texas Rowing Center is one such place.  Nestled in the trees, there’s always fun activity here.  People are putting boats, paddleboards, and canoes in the water.   Crew teams are getting organized.  By the way….rowing, paddle boarding, canoeing, and kayaking are more than just recreating…. I think they might be exercise too.  Just saying!  Let’s get back to the trail and our scenic jog/walk around it.  Open fields create longview vista’s at the edge of the legendary Zilker Park.  If you’re luckyyou’ll also see the extra small Zilker Zephyr train with little people waving at you as you walk/jog by.  Further east the trail moves out over on a beautiful “over the water” bridge.  How cool to walk/jog so close to water! 

Exercise Like Walking Protects Our Mental Health No Matter Where We Do It. 

Although exercise in a beautiful place like Town Lake is great, let’s not forget the central point.  Exercise protects our mental health no matter where we do it.  This could be lower intensity things like yoga, stretching and walking.  It could also be big-time aerobic stuff like running, aerobics classes, etc…   You choose according to Dr. Smaller.  The protective benefits exist for both low and high-intensity exercise. 

The next question to ask might be “how much do I need to do” to get these benefits.  The numbers from Dr. Smaller’s article could sound a bit daunting.   He defined the benefit differences in a group that exercised at least 3.2 hours a week or on average 45 minutes or more per day.  This could sound like a lot.  Maybe too much?  Take heart that the American Medical Association guidelines suggest a more modest 2.5 hours per week or about 22 minutes a day.  And take even more heart,  that Bernard Kim, MD an Austin psychiatrist says any amount of exercise helps and sometimes helps tremendously! 

Exercise and our new information about it’s benefits is a great reminder that mental healthcare is more than psychotherapy and medication.