It’s hard to be active and depressed at the same time. It’s hard to be inactive and physically healthy at the same time. And it’s hard to be enthusiastic without having active interests.
In these times, it is easier than ever to be sedentary. A person can almost literally grow old before viewing all of the channels on his/her cable TV set. The computer and cell phone can keep us in touch with the world without ever leaving our home. You can get prepared meals delivered to your home, and three-story buildings have elevators.
Not coincidentally, there is an epidemic of obesity, and depression is being diagnosed at earlier ages and in larger numbers than before.
One of the greatest preventative medicines in the world is activity. I’m not just talking about physical exercise, although that’s tremendously important, but it is also important to socialize out of the home and pursue interests and learning that keep you active.
Studies on the aging process consistently demonstrate that two activities slow down the potential for dementia: physical exercise and challenging mental activity. Those activities are easy enough to do IF YOU’VE BEEN DOING THEM RIGHT ALONG.
I have observed that emotionally healthy people tend to be active and grow and change in three main areas: health and fitness; intellectual functioning; and the social area. If you are staying active in all three areas you are less likely to feel depressed and unenthused about your life.
I know that some of you have medical conditions that may make these recommendations challenging. That’s where the exercise cards that you can download from this website come in. If you use them to set small but measureable goals to increase your activity level (which is good advice even for those who don’t have medical problems), you will be more likely to follow through than would be the case if you plan to get active as soon as you feel better. By the time you feel better, inertia may make it easier to stay inactive.
We can all work on getting and staying active. I’d love to hear about positive changes that you make that could also work for others.