Does exercise help relieve depression?
Learn how to regular daily exercise can help relieve symptoms of major depression.
Improve Symptoms of Major Depression by Exercising Regularly
Different people are affected in a variety of ways by major depression. Some people have trouble sleeping, lose muscle weight and strength, and report feelings of aggravation or irritability. Others may sleep and eat too much, gain weight, and continuously feel a lack of hope and self-esteem. While these, and many other symptoms, are regularly expressed by people who are depressed—exercise can help. People suffering with depression are often prescribed medications and psychotherapy. In theory, the combination of treatments directs attention to both physical and emotional or mental challenges. Medications may help stabilize chemicals in the brain and psychotherapy allows a person to focus and build cognitive ability and coping mechanisms for living a better balanced life. The general term 'depression' is often used to describe a mood disorder, but as it can also be used to describe other types of psychological depression. Major depression is a disabling condition which adversely affects a person's family, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, and general health. Major Depression is real—it’s challenges and symptoms are real. While many sub-types of depressive disorders exist, it is our effort to share hope with folks suffering from a variety of symptoms with good news—exercise can help.
How does exercise affect symptoms of depression?
It is easy to explain to people that exercise is enormously beneficial to our body and physical health. It—exercise—is evenly as important to our mental and emotional health. Exercise can do more than prevent or lower blood pressure, risk of disorder, disease, and illness, exercise is vital to our mental sharpness and emotional health. According to Dr. Vickers-Douglas, of the Mayo Clinic, small intervals of exercise can be greatly beneficial to people with depression. Research suggests that it may take at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for at least three to five days a week to significantly improve depression symptoms. Exercise guidelines published by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (Guidelines for Personal Exercise Programs) suggests 30 minutes or more most days of the week. Evidence suggests that exercise raises the levels of certain mood-enhancing neurotransmitters in the brain. Exercise may also boost endorphins (A group of chemicals produced in the brain that reduce pain and improve mood), release muscle tension, help you sleep better, and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. All of these changes in your mind and body can improve such symptoms as sadness, anxiety, irritability, stress, fatigue, anger, self-doubt and hopelessness.
How to plan exercise while experiencing symptoms of depression?
- Be Real – don’t try to run a marathon if you’ve never prepared your body and mind for that sort of stress on the body. Start slow, set a goal of exercising for as little as fifteen minutes to start.
- Get help – ask family, friends, or loved one’s to help you. Perhaps even walking through the neighborhood with a friend will kick-start you into becoming more active and beginning a new lifestyle of fun, active, living. Hire a dedicated and experienced personal fitness trainer—the right trainer can change your life. Good trainers know how to safely and effectively prepare your body and mind for relieving stress and fighting symptoms of depression. An awesome side effect of this perspective in regular exercise is weight loss and greater well-being!
- Examine Your Fears - assess your obstacles or barriers to entry into a healthier more active lifestyle with exercise.
- Prepare for Failure – we all slip sometimes. Getting back on your exercise program after laying off or becoming sedentary is normal for most exercising people. The key in better fitness to allow some room for back-sliding and have a solid plan in place for correcting any 'back-sliding.'