Sport therapy for burnout patients

Diagnosis: burnout

If you take a look at today’s health statistics you automatically ask yourself whether people knew what a burnout was already in the early days. Depressions have already plagued people in the ancient world while the borders to sadness are fluid. Gloom or melancholy were the terms for this kind of phenomenon and a common symptom for unoccupied wives of rich men but also for artists like writers. Poetry and music were supposed to be the cure – sport wasn’t considered because it wasn’t practiced in a similar fashion.

sport diagnosis burnout

More activity for a better wellbeing

In return people were a lot more active in the past. This could be one reason why people mostly felt less bad. If you had a task at hand it often involved long distances that you had to tavel by foot; a form of movement that only recently was pushed to the edge of all forms of movement in the last century. Even though there already were carriages, the train and cars, even planes, average Joe still walked greater distances or took the bike from time to time. Today, the prospect of a long walk is almost like the prospect of impending torture to most and before they would buy lots of outdoor eqipment.

Go out and get some air

However, sports like Nordic Walking seem to be a great therapy for depression and burnout in today’s world. When walking – even long walks in moderate to fast pace can help – you move about half of your 720 muscles in addition to 200 bones and 68 joints with every step.

Go get some air © Halfpoint -
Go get some air (© Halfpoint –

It is not only a cheap but also a healthy thing to use your lunch break or the time after dinner for a walk. Half an hour outdoors per day also stimulates the production of the important, endogenous Vitamin D that is needed for your bones. Especially in the winter months every minute outdoors is important because even the supposedly dark daylight of a foggy or rainy day is still brighter than most workplaces or a room in your home.

Causes for a burnout

You can read about the causes for a burnout in our article “Burnout und Sport – eine Lösung?”. Constant overextension professionally or privately is one reason, as well as the subjective feeling of hopelessness. Learnt helplessness comes into play as well as a genetic predisposition. While other tend to get angry about problems in their job and maybe simply quit even though the future might be uncertain, other people that don’t see a solution on the horizon might remain in their old place and simply continue. Finally, the psyche breaks down and so does the body. Both are deeply connected. We’ve already known this for centuries and finally our orthodox medical practitioners change towards a more wholesome approach when looking at a patient.

Occupation as distraction

But why could Michelangelo finish his masterpieces in an incredible time frames that often left almost no time to sleep, not to mention times of leisure or vacancy? And in addition to working conditions that no modern employee has to fear: long hours with no breaks, lying on your back or on your side, standing on fragile and several meters high scaffolding while working with his arm constantly raised? You can’t even imagine these kinds of conditions today. It is well-known that he was a loner but he surely wasn’t a man with burnout syndrome. Why did farmers and their wives not fall into deep depressions with six to seven days of hard work with workload from the early cockcrow to dusk?

Sport therapy for burnout © contrastwerkstatt -
Sport therapy for burnout (© contrastwerkstatt –

They were less heteronomous. This is one of the most important findings of modern studies. People that can freely allot their time and decide things for themselves live healthier. And of course there was no question of meaningfulness in our examples above. Michelangelo knew who he was and what he did. And the farmers knew no leisure time, trusted in God, and live their daily life one hour after the other.

And they all worked hard physically – which brings us back to sports as our topic because who doesn’t work on a farm or has a similar active jobs is usually sitting way too much.

Sport is no universal remedy

It is also clear that activity, which would be regular sport in today’s world, cannot be the magic bullet. People in nursing professions that walk a lot and have to work hard physically every day are massively affected by burnouts. Time pressure, the permanent and hectic to and fro, the feeling of never being able to fully complete a task, having not enough time for something, and the outlook that this might never change all add up.

Those that suffer from depression or burnout need to seek professional help first. Then, stationary or outpatient treatment with the support of drugs can follow. Depending on the severity the stationary treatment is useful because it provides tranquility and time and practical help for daily situations can be given. One of this is sport. The affected people often stay complete immobile which only worsens the disease. If the body starts moving the soul can also start to free itself from its rigid state.

A very good choice: the swimming pool. Weightless gliding relaxes all joints. There are also water relaxation therapies. At the same time, wellness of all kinds helps but most of all the answer to this one question:

What do I really want?

Author: Andre Leisner

André has been a passionate athlete for more than 20 years and made his hobby his profession. After a herniated disk, André had to deal with rehabilitation and fitness. It seemed like this had left a mark, because he decided to dedicate his life to sport. He sucessfully attended several workshops and advanced trainings and, now, works as a personal trainer to help his clients live a healthier active life. Click here to visit Andrés homepage and here to follow him on Facebook.

One Comment Leave a comment

    Elmar 2. December 2013 at 2:57 PM #

    10.000 Schritte am Tag war mal die Durchschnitts-Benchmark. Mit aktuellen Trackern für dein Mobiltelefon kannst Du deine Schritte am Tag sehr gut selbst messen… und dabei feststellen, dass Du von den 10.000 Schritten weit entfernt bist. Zumindest, wenn Du einen Bürojob hast!

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