Professional counselor explains mental health benefits of exercise

Local News

Exercise is obviously great for your body, but one Lubbock therapist is making the connection between physical health and mental health.

Megan Daniels is a former Texas Tech athlete and a West Texas native. She’s also one of just a few people in the country working to take control of both their mind and body through running therapy.

Running therapy is a client led therapy session that combines both physical activity and talk therapy.

“Physically there’s so much research that shows how exercise can benefit your brain and your body,” she said. “There’s a huge mind body connection when you’re moving and when you’re exercising. It releases the happy hormones and chemicals in your brain that make you feel good” .

Anyone looking to incorporate regular exercise into their lives can benefit from running therapy, but research shows people struggling with anxiety and depression may find this approach especially helpful.

Daniels said it encourages clients to build a regular exercise schedule on their own, because running therapy is such an encouraging practice.

“Being outside and being in a calm peaceful environment like a park where you have water and trees,” she said. “It’s just a calming environment so that in and of itself helps people open up.”

She said connecting the physical body and the brain through running therapy can help people feel safe while working through deeper issues.

“So you’re moving and you’re not just sitting so you combine both of those together and it helps people to say okay maybe I can talk about this” Daniels said.

Anyone can benefit from running therapy, regardless of age or fitness level. Daniels said to get started clients will need a release from a doctor and to go through a quick intake session.

She said the benefits of running therapy are something she has seen first hand.

“I have found that to help me collect my thoughts and to be able to think clearly,” she said. 

Daniels said she feels honored to be able to share those benefits with the people of Lubbock.

In the spring, Daniels said she will be putting together a running group for new moms who are hoping to find some baby-free time to work on themselves. You can find information on Daniels and her counseling services through her professional Facebook page.

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