On this Memorial Day weekend, our country takes time to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in active military service. Those men and women who are able to return to civilian life after military service, often find the transition challenging. Conditions like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) can add to that challenge.
Researchers at the University of New Mexico (Kim, Kravitz, Schneider) have published a guide for exercise professionals to help people with PTSD, whether they served in the military or have the disorder from a different traumatic event/experience. “PTSD is fundamentally a dysfunction of the body’s stress-coping system that results in serious health effects,” the report explains. “Without intervention, PTSD can increase the chances of a person developing severe depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.”
How can exercise help? The researchers report, “Low-to-moderate intensity exercise can elevate mood, reduce anxiety (Cohen and Shamus, 2009) and act as an overall stress-buffer (Tsatsoulis and Fountoulakis). More specifically, exercise, particularly mind-body and low-intensity aerobic exercise, has been shown to have a positive impact on the symptoms of depression and PTSD (Cohen and Shamus).”
The report suggests including:
- Low-to-moderate intensity body awareness movement activities (e.g., Pilates, Yoga, Nia, Therapeutic Dance, Tai Chi, or Qigong) to help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Diaphragmatic (or pranayama) breathing and muscle relaxation exercises because of their calming effects
To read the complete report, click here.
YogaFit has designed a specific yoga teacher-training program to better serve people with PTSD. It’s called YogaFit for Warriors and is designed to help people with PTSD de-stress and regain a sense of control. Learn more about the program here.
Thank you to all of our military men and women who have dedicated their lives to keeping this country safe!