Local counselor says sports and exercise are important, “as good as medication in many cases”

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A local counselor says isolation, changes to our routines and depression are some impacts of COVID-19.

UnityPoint Health UnityPlace Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Dave Mingus says exercise and sports can help people during the pandemic.

Fitness, exercise and sports in general, are stress relievers, he said, and team building activities that connect us to one another.

“We find that exercise is as good as medication in many cases as far as depressive states. So it’s important to maintain that exercise and fitness and to substitute the personal aspects that relieve stress and just make us better people all the way around,” said Mingus.

Mingus says as sports seasons have changed, so have many people’s daily lives. He recommends finding a new routine or practicing team skills on an individual level to stay in shape.

He says some athletes may even feel the loss of who they are without sports.

“There’s a complaint that when they can’t play their sports, they feel an absence. They feel a void and it’s important that void we need to look for positive substances that can fill that void,” said Mingus.

Finding ways to exercise and practice during the pandemic can be a positive outlet, he said. Mingus also advises people to find alternatives similar to the activities and routines that they’re used to doing.

For those who do not typically exercise, starting by taking walks is a good place to begin, he said.

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