Effects of exercise, sleep, and nutrition on depression

by Dustin Lindgren

2020 has been quite a year for everyone to say the least. COVID-19 has definitely brought stress and anxiety to another level. The pleasures and the little things that we all took for granted have now been stripped from us, or have gone through extreme change. It can be very strenuous on our stress levels, and in these difficult times a healthy mind is very important. It doesn’t make a difference whether you are just experiencing this kind of strain on your mental health or have been suffering from symptoms of depression for some time. There are a few steps that can help us improve both physically and mentally. 

Increasing our overall health in general, we start to experience increased levels of our feel good hormones called endorphins. The more we produce endorphins the better we feel as a whole.


Exercise has been proven to increase our mental health and also release our endorphins. As you start a workout your heart rate starts to increase, and sweat starts rushing out of your pores. That’s when the endorphins are released into our bloodstream. After that it’s just you and pure determination until the end. Afterwards you feel better not just physically but you also sense accomplishment. A workout in the morning can be a great way to start off a day. Upon finishing your workout you have successfully finished your very first task of the day, and you haven’t even been to work yet! Sure, exercise can be difficult or you just simply don’t want to, but just remember it definitely can be rewarding in many different ways. 


Everyone knows the old banal saying “You are what you eat”, and that holds some truth. When it comes to nutrition and mental health, there is some correlation between the two. Providing our bodies with the right nutrients can help with brain function and have an impact on our mood.  Depression cannot only have an effect on what we eat but how we eat. We start to see eating patterns that go with depression such as; skipping a meal, lack of appetite, and more consumption of sweets. Not getting enough vitamin B1, B6, and B12 can affect our how we feel too. With changes happening in our world, home cooked meals are becoming more frequent and it leaves more time to try new things in the kitchen. Mixing in new fruits, veggies, meats, and recipes into an already existing diet can be a nice change of pace. Another way we can make a change is by eliminating or moderating the consumption of sugary foods as well. Just by switching up your diet and “cleaning it up” so to say, can improve how you feel both physically and mentally.


It’s a given that being well rested is important for cognitive function. 6-9 hours of sleep is what is recommended for a healthy mind. More often than not, some people have a hard time sleeping. Before crawling into bed, finding something relaxing to do in the hour before going to bed can make falling asleep a bit easier. Decreasing the stimulus such as; turning lights, noise, and activities in the home, and creating a sleep schedule are also just a couple of helpful tools to promote healthy rest.

A healthy body and a healthy mind go hand-in-hand. We can’t fuel our minds without getting our bodies right first.

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Alex Kain

Owner / Head Coach / Personal Trainer

Alex has always been a very athletic and active person. Playing just about every sport under the sun, however he spent more time being involved in Hockey, Gymnastics, Diving and Cheerleading (the latter 3 being very similar in nature). Not only did he grow up being very active he had a very nutritiously conscientious mother who wouldn’t allow him many different kinds of foods. So he grew up with a good basis on nutrition and eating healthy. As he grew older he continued to dial in on the nutrition while working out religiously. He would often pair gymnastics type movements with traditional barbell movements when working out. Therefore when he found functional fitness back in 2010 he fell in love with it and never looked back.

Alex went on to grad school where he got a masters degree in Exercise Physiology and won back to back National Championships in cheerleading. Upon graduating he began working at Froedtert hospital in Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and coaching cheerleading locally. He really enjoyed helping people improve their health but wanted to help people before they were requiring surgery and he also knew that a healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition and exercise could prevent many of the issues he was treating people for. In 2008 he was offered a coaching position in New Zealand. He moved there and spent the next 6 years in New Zealand and Australia coaching New Zealand to 2 gold and 1 silver medal in the World Cheerleading Championships and Australia to 1 Silver medal. 

In 2014 he moved back to the states and that’s when he opened A1 Health and Fitness. His biggest joys are helping people reach their goals and lead healthy lives through diet and exercise. Whether it’s coaching someone to a PR lift or helping someone shed unwanted pounds or start eliminating poor food from their diet, Alex loves it all. His real passion is nutrition and helping people get off their medication, but he can work with all ages. He enjoys traveling the world, spending time with his dog Charlie and his amazing girlfriend Jen as well as family and friends. 


  • USAW L2
  • CrossFit L2
  • Precision Nutrition Level 1
  • WAG certified nutrition coach
  • CrossFit Kids
  • M.S. Exercise Physiology