Guest blogger Galen Friesen, Covell Intern and Colorado State University graduate.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 18% of the population every year. The process of treatment for mental conditions can be frustrating and extremely stressful; but a viable treatment option exists innately within every single person.
Exercise is always an option regardless of ability level, experience, or life circumstance. Exercise looks slightly different for every person, and can be tailored to meet individual needs extremely well. Public health recommendations for exercise (150 minutes hours to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise ) have been shown to be scientifically effective at treating depression . Analysis of 80 studies also shows that benefits of exercise can even be obtained regardless of duration, as long as a consistent frequency is maintained . This means that something as simple as a daily walk can help combat depression, as long as it is a consistent practice. So if long concentrated exercise sessions are not a good fit for you, consistent physical activity is still an option, if frequency is emphasized.
The main takeaway of the relationship between exercise and mental health is that exercise is an effective and proven way to mitigate symptoms of mental illness and there are seemingly endless different ways to go about exercising, so there is guaranteed to be a form of exercise that suits each individual differently.
 HHS Office, & Council on Sports. (2019, February 01). Physical Activity Guidelines for
Americans. Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/be-active/physical-activity-guidelines-for-americans/index.html
 Exercise treatment for depression: Efficacy and dose response. (2004, December 27). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379704002417
 Craft, L. L., & Perna, F. M. (2004). The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed. The Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,06(03), 104-111. doi:10.4088/pcc.v06n0301
Blog post provided by guest blogger and OT graduate student Lori Baird with Colorado State University. Covell Care and Rehabilitation’s certified therapists provide services to new moms dealing with the following issues. Inquiries about services can be made by calling 970-204-4331. In-person or over-the-phone consults are available.
The transition to becoming a new mom can be difficult and exhausting. Suddenly you are thrust into new roles and routines like changing diapers, and having to devote all of your attention to a baby. In addition, your body is changing and there are fluctuations with your hormones that make you feel like you are going crazy!
According to the American Psychological Association many women experience the “baby blues,” which involves mood swings, anxiety, crying, and stress after a baby isborn. In addition, 1 in 7 women experience even more serious mood disorders –postpartum depression. While hormonal changes are taking place within the body a vast number of physical changes also occur, some of which include diastasis recti (abdominal separation), postural dysfunction, and pelvic floor dysfunction. All of these changes both inside and outside the body take a toll on women’s well-being and overall health.
Occupational therapists (OT) have a unique role to play when it comes to empoweringnew moms to cope with and manage their own health and wellness while dealing with an ever-changing and often challenging life role. By focusing on interventions that enhance meaningful occupational engagement, occupational therapists can help new mom’s build confidence and positive self-efficacy in their new motherhood roles and decrease the risk for postpartum depression.
How can an OT help? An OT can help through providing holistic, client-centered interventions that help…
- Reduce the stress and depression associated with the transition to motherhood through mindfulness techniques.
- Mindfulness techniques can restore hormonal imbalances; improve mood, foster mother-infant bonding and parental bonding.
- Provide education and training on incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction postpartum.
- Strengthen and tone pelvic floor muscles
- Correct diastasis recti
- Provide education and training to improve postural alignment with use of correct ergonomics to decrease back pain and repetitive strain injuries. Evaluate and assess women in their home, work, and community for optimal role performance.
The interventions listed above are just a sample of what an OT can offer women throughout their perinatal care. This type of rehabilitative care empowers women to take control of their health and thus live happier, healthier, and more productive lives.