These are free weekly Kickfit Boxing  classes for young people aged 12-25 between now until June.
These are free weekly Kickfit Boxing classes for young people aged 12-25 between now until June.

How exercise can help beat the blues

PERHAPS it's our fast-paced world. Maybe it's the time we spend online instead of in human interactions. But rates of anxiety and depression are rising all over the world.

In Australia, in any one year, one million adults have depression and more than two million have anxiety. 

While your GP can advise on treatment, including medication, beyondblue says regular physical activity is a good way to help prevent or manage mild anxiety and depression.
There's some other ways you can shore up your feelgood chemicals and resilience too.

Get up, get out
When you go for a run, do a Zumba class, or take a boxing lesson, you release endorphins that boost your mood. Regular exercise - at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week - also improves sleeping patterns and increases your energy.
With Fitbit Versa's smart watch, you can get on-screen workouts, track your activity or get post-workout summaries of your exercise routine.
Getting an exercise buddy or joining an exercise class is another way to stay motivated.
Research shows that exposing your lungs to fresh air, and the scents of flowers and plants, can help to relieve stress and anxiety so exercise outdoors whenever you can.

 Food fixes
Numerous studies have shown a link between omega-3 fatty acids - found in fish, nuts and seeds and flaxseed oil - and a lower rate of depression. However, it's important to note that the way everyone responds to foods is different.
What medical experts know for sure: a healthy diet is important to maintaining overall well-being.
If you're confused by all the choices, follow a Mediterranean approach - plenty of fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts, legumes and olive oil and a little lean meat. 

Don't stress out
Chronic stress can be a risk factor in anxiety and depression so controlling your levels is key.
Besides a change in attitude, you can add a relaxation routine to your day. This could be a simple breathing exercise - your Fitbit Versa can help, a tai chi or yoga class, or a mindfulness or meditation exercise or app.
The more you practice, the more relaxed you'll become. That's good news for your physical health too because when you're in the "calm zone" your body is able to rest and repair.

 Get your zzzzs
Proper sleep is crucial to mood, immune function and rejuvenation. Make sure you get it by relaxing before you go to bed, not drinking alcohol or coffee too close to turning in, ensuring you have comfortable pillows and bed linen, and dealing with worries before you call it quits for the night. (A journal, or a friend, can help). You can monitor your sleep patterns, and improve them, with the Fitbit Versa.


You can get your very own Fitbit Versa Smartwatch by taking up this 12-month digital subscription offer. It's easy to subscribe, simply sign up online now or phone 1300 361 604.
* Only $7.50 a week billed every four weeks on a 12-month contract for new digital subscribers (minimum annual cost $390). Allow 20 days for Fitbit Versa to arrive. Offer available while stocks last. Conditions apply.

Helen Hawkes is a Health Coach and Counsellor