Depression is a huge problem in nowadays society. Both young and old can suffer an overwhelming sense of helplessness and anxiety.
If you are a cynic you could say people just have too much time to worry. A remark that doesn’t help anybody, nor is it true in my opinion.
This article explains why exercise is a great way to beat depression. Other articles like Why you have to allow yourself to experience your emotions and Being grateful everyday pays off approach the subject from a different angle.
Table of contents
What can cause depression?
A bad mood is not immediately a depression. Having a bad mood every day for months in a row is. Severe loss of interest in anything is a sign as well.
Often the cause is a combination of biological, social and psychic factors:
- hormonal change
- use of medication, drugs or alcohol
- chronic illness
- death of a loved one
- fear of failure
- low self esteem
- struggle to ask support
Why exercise is good
Science Daily reports regular exercise not only treats depression, but also helps in prevention. That’s exciting news if you have trouble battling those low points in your life.
Ever more evidence pops up supporting the fact that exercise can be an excellent and effective tool to treat depression and prevent it in the long-term.
Exercising 5 days a week for 30 minutes is all you need to reap the rewards when it comes to improving your mental health.
How to activate yourself
I suffered some periods of severe depression. From my own experience I know that the main problem is not to exercise but to get yourself motivated to come out of bed and do anything at all.
Arrange for a buddy who will kick you in the butt or coach you gently to some activity. Exercise together. Join a group. Apply whichever method is necessary to get you going.
Exercise against depression
Any type of exercise is great to boost your mood if you are fighting the blues. Experts say this is particularly effective if you suffer from mild to moderate levels of depression.
Be sure to do the activities you enjoy in order to be motivated and stick with it.
How much exercise do you need?
Each week about 150 minutes of rigorous activity should suffice. If you have passed up on your physical activity and start again, make sure you take it slowly in the beginning. Ease your way into it. This will help you consolidate your new healthy habit and avoid injury.
Keep in mind that anything is better than nothing. Even when you start with 2 minutes a day it is perfect to relieve stress and clear your head.
How does exercise help beat depression and anxiety?
- Exercise triggers the release of those all-natural feel-good brain chemicals that stifle depression, rejigging the neurotransmitters and endorphins.
- Reduces immune system chemicals that will trigger and heighten depression.
- Boosts body temperature that helps calm the body in general.
Aside from stabilizing weight, deterring obesity, and decreasing the risk of serious disease, routine exercise also has numerous psychological and emotional benefits, including…
Builds confidence – by setting exercise goals and meeting them, you’ll boost your confidence. In addition, when you get in shape you feel better about yourself because you look and feel fantastic.
Increases social relations – when you exercise, you are socializing. Even if you are just going for a power walk, you’ll pass people with a wave or smile; all of which makes you feel great.
Distracts you from worry – negative thoughts left to steam will eventually eat you up. When you exercise, you’re focused on the positive and you give your head a break from your concerns.
Positive coping mechanism – it’s not possible just to ease your depressive worries away. When you engage in uplifting exercise you learn to cope in a healthy manner.
Don’t settle for depression
According to Centers for disease control and prevention depression is not a routine part of the aging process. Depression is most common when 60-plussers are suffering from other health conditions.
Many seniors are underdiagnosed when it comes to depression and not treated properly. Exercise is a non-invasive treatment option that is effective in moderate to mild cases.
If you suffer from deep depression, exercise is going to help you immensely, but other measures may also need to be in place. Make sure you always discuss your plan of action with your healthcare provider.
There’s no doubt that in order to get healthy you need to incorporate challenging regularly exercise into your day. In addition, if you are battling depression it’s even more important that you give your mental state that positive boost to help you focus on the positive and shut out the negative.
Get active and reap the rewards; mind, body, and soul!