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Exercise and Depression: May Workout Become a Remedy? Exercise and Depression: May Workout Become a Remedy?
Do you want to know how exercise and depression are linked? Numerous researches prove that doing some physical exercises daily contribute to the positive energy which, in its turn, lifts the spirit and reduces the risk of having depression. So how do exercise and depression work together?
Exercise and depression
So what are psychological benefits from the combination of exercise and depression?
The most common psychological benefit from doing sport is the increased self-esteem. When you exercise your organism produces chemical agents – endorphins. These agents interact with brain receptors and together they reduce your perception of pain.
Endorphins are also known for causing positive pleasurable feelings. They are similar to those that one can feel after morphine injections. Thus, what you feel after running for a while or any other physical activity could be described as “euphoria”. This feeling, also known as runner’s joy, causes the burst of positive energy and brand new life principles and beliefs.
Also, the work of endorphins can be compared to that of analgetic. It means that they reduce the perception of pain. Their effect can easily be determined as sedative. Endorphins are secreted in the brain, spinal cord and many other parts of the body and they are being released in response to the signal from brain chemical agents – neurotransmitters. Nerve endings which are connected to endorphins are the same as when painkillers do their job. However, unlike morphine, endorphins don’t cause dependence or fixation.
Regular exercises can help to:
- Reduce the stress
- Lower anxiety and get rid of depressive thoughts
- Heighten self-esteem
- Improve the quality of sleep
Regular exercising has following benefits for health of your organism:
- Improves cardiac performance
- Makes you energetic
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves muscle tone and strength
- Strengthens bones
- Burns fats
- Makes you look fit and healthy
Read more about Natural Remedies for Depression
Sport as one of the methods in treating depression
Scientists claim that exercising regularly is very helpful but remain to be an “underused” method of treating mild and moderate forms of depression.
What types of exercises exactly relieve the state of depression?
According to the studies, any kind of exercise will help to beat depression. Here is a list of the most common and not very difficult exercises:
- Lawn-and-garden activities
- Golf (walking instead of driving the cart)
- Home cleaning, especially sweeping, floors washing and hoovering.
- Jogging for short distances
- Aerobics with low weight
- Lawn jobs – grass cutting
For those who suffer from depression, social support is very important. Attending special groups for doing sport together could be especially effective. But a food friend or a lover can present even better company for recovery. Thus, the person who experiences depression will get the satisfaction from exercising because he or she will know for sure that there are people who care.
Is the consultation with your doctor necessary before starting exercising?
Mostly, no. But if you weren’t true to sport for some time and you’re over 50 years old, you have diabetes or heart conditions – you’d better consult with the specialist first.
What exercise to choose?
Before doing anything, try and answer the following questions:
- What physical exercises do I like the most?
- Do I want to exercise alone or in the group?
- What exercises can be combined with my working schedule?
- Do I have some conditions that may prevent me from doing the exercises I want to do?
- What are my goals? (Weight loss, muscle toning, improved flexibility or lifted spirit)
- How often do I need to exercise to ease depression?
These questions will narrow the range of exercises and you will be able to choose what suits you best.
A piece of advice: try exercising 3 times a week for 20-30 minutes. The studies have proved that the greater effect can be achieved if you exercise 4-5 times a week. But don’t go too far if you’re a beginner. Start with 20-minute exercise gradually making it to 30 minutes.
How to start exercising to ease the depression?
At first, you should make a list of exercises and decide on the time for them. When you’re used to them, you will be able to make some changes in your exercising program and timing.
- Decide on those exercises you like the most. Sport should give pleasure.
- Mark the days for sport on your calendar.
- Diversity makes it fun. Don’t do one and the same exercises every day – they will bore you. Try attending a local gym and consulting with a coach. He or she will certainly help you to diverse your sports routine.
- Avoid unnecessary shopping. If you’re not going to exercise regularly – don’t buy expensive sports equipment or a year gym membership.
- Do all the prepared exercises. If you will do them regularly, it will become the part of your daily routine and will help to beat depression.
What to do if during exercising you suddenly feel pain?
That should never be ignored. Don’t do anything through pain, otherwise, you risk damaging your joints and muscles. Stay in tune with your body to avoid overdoing it. If you still feel pain a couple hours after exercising, you have probably exercised too much and need to decrease your activity level. If you feel persistent or severe pain, or if you suspect you have injured yourself, contact your doctor.
If you are no longer able to exercise, try other activities and methods of boosting your mood. Try a meditation or start visiting massage therapies. They have proved to be the excellent helpers by increasing endorphin levels and, thus, elevating the mood.
Hope you understood how exercise and depression work together.
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By Maria Shevtsova
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist. Taking action in support groups organization and social adaptation of the people with mental disorders. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the undepress.net project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who want to get their life back or help someone dear, who got into mental trap.
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