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Is exercise important for controlling bipolar disorder?

Exercise can be good for the brain and body. Any type of moderate exercise will release endorphins, a type of chemical in the brain, that improve mood and general feeling. It can help improve sleep quality, which is important in reducing triggers for episodes. Exercise as a form of stress relief, especially forms of fitness like yoga, are recommended to reduce triggers for episodes. Regular fitness is a good lifestyle habit that in addition to medication and therapy can help improve bipolar disorder.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Doctors agree that getting regular exercise is essential for all people with bipolar disorder. Daily physical activity helps to maintain your overall health. That is especially important if you have bipolar disorder, which has been linked to various other medical conditions. Also, some people with bipolar disorder develop problems with basic mental functions, such as memory, planning, organizing and paying attention. Several studies have found that getting regular aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, or swimming, can help prevent these kinds of problems.
It isn’t necessarily the case that exercise “controls” bipolar disorder, but regular exercise does have a strong positive correlation with mental health in general. For instance, daily exercise has been shown to be as effective as antidepressants in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Exercise can additionally help to regulate one’s sleep cycle. It can also help to discharge or channel some of the excess energy associated with mild to moderate hypomania. In other words, those who engage in regular exercise will usually find that they feel physically healthier and more emotionally stable. In this respect, it will definitely be beneficial to those with bipolar disorder.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.