YAKIMA, WA - According to Harvard Medical School, aerobic exercise is key to your head just as much as it is key to your heart.
In this legislative session, Washington passed House Bill 1834, excusing absences for mental health reasons in schools.
According to a study done by the CDC in 2020, the pandemic has been associated with mental health challenges in adults.
The behavioral health medical director at Community Health Plan of Washington said that our mental health is connected to more than just our brains.
"We need to remember to take care of our physical health," said Tawnya Christiansen M.D. "Get our bodies moving, get some sunshine, make sure we maintain connections with others, spend time with people we care about, remember to laugh."
Yakima mom, Amber Betts, said she started going to the gym for fitness but sees other benefits in exercise.
"I've struggled with all of these mental health issues for many years and I've tried everything," said Betts. "All of the medications, changing my diet, doing all these things and really I didn't really start coming to the gym because of those issues but I've noticed that my anxiety levels are way down when I'm able to get my heart rate up."
Christiansen said working on your mental health could be as easy as going outside.
"Anything that you enjoy is worth doing," said Christiansen. "It's nice to have a routine but if that becomes old look for something new to do, take a walk, look around for community activities."
According to Mental Health America, there isn't one particular treatment that works best for everyone.
"I think I've learned with mental health that the solve for somebody else could be different for me, so what works for me may not work for you," said Betts. "I had a friend tell me the other day that when she's having a panic attack she puts music in her ears and that helps, that doesn't help me, but this does."
Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment, so if you start regularly exercising, you might see your anxiety levels start to go down.
For more information about the benefits of physical exercise on mental health, click HERE.