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Diet and Exercise Important for Bipolar Health

When was the last time you exercised or ate healthy for a whole day?

Lately I’ve been having a battle with my diet and exercise routine, but the increasing encouragement from my treatment team to supercharge my personal health plan is finally sinking in. I don’t want to add to the symptoms anymore. I want to feel better physically. I want to feel better about myself.

THON Fitness Class 007

How many of you feel this way?

There’s good news, though.

For bipolar individuals, exercise can: 

  • Improve depression
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Promote better sleep
  • Keep mood swings at bay
  • Fight anxiety

And, aerobic exercises like running and swimming are very beneficial.

It might help to time your exercise—perhaps you might work out more vigorously in the morning or late afternoon and do light exercises like yoga just before bed.

And we all know how difficult moods can be—during a manic episode, it’s difficult to follow a schedule. When depressed, one may have negative thoughts or feel tired.

So, what can you do?

  • Pick an exercise method that you enjoy. Some people just aren’t runners. In fact, I prefer swimming or yoga; low impact exercise. Cleaning is even a great way to burn calories.
  • Start slowly, then work your way up.
  • Talk to your treatment team before beginning an exercise program
  • Enlist a friend or family member to exercise with you

I hate to sound like a mother, but eating right is important too! And you might not have it down yet–according to a 2007 study, people with bipolar disorder are more likely to have a poor diet. They are more likely to report only one daily meal, have trouble gaining access to food, and gaining 10 pounds or more in the past six months.

Honestly, I’m not doing a lot of this. In fact, the past few months I have been eating terribly. I need to practice what I have learned from this research and put it to good use.

In my goal for better health so far, I have lost 7.4 pounds. I am looking to keep it going.

But what is important is being healthy and being as balanced as possible, not how ridiculously skinny we look or how little we eat. It’s about incorporating the right foods and getting your own personal exercise routine straight. Find some support to get this going for yourself.

Do you think you have a good diet and exercise routine in place? If so, what has worked for you? If not, what is stopping you?

Until next time.


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Creative Commons License photo credit: pennstatelive

Diet and Exercise Important for Bipolar Health

Kat Dawkins

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APA Reference
Dawkins, K. (2013). Diet and Exercise Important for Bipolar Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 3, 2020, from


Last updated: 2 Feb 2013
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