When was the last time you heard that exercise wasn’t the best thing ever for your body? Was that probably never? Thought so. Which is why what comes next may be a surprise: For people with bipolar disorder, which is characterized by extreme mood swings, working out isn’t always a safe move.
“For an individual with bipolar disorder, the mood regulating circuits in the brain can be supersensitive to conditions and substances that effect mood, including exercise,” says Jim Cummins, M.D., a staff psychiatrist at OhioHealth Behavioral Health in Columbus. “So much like a prescribed antidepressant might trigger a high, too much exercise might fuel manic behavior.”
But this doesn’t mean you can—or should—hang up your sneakers for good. Instead, it means you need to be smart about using them.