Does Exercise Help With Depression?

If you’ve ended a relationship or had a rough day at work, it’s normal to have a case of the blues. However, if feeling down and depressed occurs every day, you may need some help. Severe depression requires professional help, but if it’s mild, you might be able to get help with depression from exercise and a healthy diet. In fact, exercise is an adjunct therapy used by some counselors.

Exercise can help burn off stress hormones and create ones that lift your spirits.

The fight or flight response is built into man when life’s stressors included wild animals and warring tribes. Today’s stresses include traffic jams and angry bosses. Stress that isn’t resolved can lead to depression, so finding ways to resolve the stress is important. Exercise can do that. It helps burn off the hormones of stress and causes the brain to trigger the production of hormones that make you feel good. It also aids in neurogenesis, which aids in creating new brain cells, so it can help prevent mental decline.

The exercise helps boost circulation, which is important.

Vigorous aerobic exercise gets your blood circulating and studies show it is one of the best depression-fighting types of exercise. It doesn’t have to be intense, but you do have to keep moving. The more intense the workout, the harder you work and that boosts happy hormones, like endorphins. These hormones are meant to deal with pain and act like a natural morphine. They produce a sense of well-being that replaces the feeling of depression.

Strength training can also help.

Studies show that strength training can aid in relieving depression. Some impressive results came from a study on stroke survivors. After just ten weeks of strength training, there was a marked decline in signs of depression. The results were seen as a combination of the actual exercise and the feeling of more control and mastery of their body that helped improve their mood and diminished anxiety.

  • To get that boost and feel better, the exercise doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be as simple as jogging, running or walking 30 minutes a day. If you start with walking, you can slowly increase the pace as you get fitter.
  • Mild exercise like tai chi and yoga can improve flexibility and the slow movements can even help lift depression. Studies show both have helped make significant improvement in people that were depressed.
  • If you’re not ready for formal exercise, just turn on the music and dance. Make it a motivational song or one that’s happy. The combination of the lyrics to the song and the movement can help boost your spirits.
  • If you’re suffering from severe depression, don’t hesitate to get professional help. You can always add exercise as you work with the professional. For those bad days, or mild depression, get out your running shoes or go to the gym. You’ll feel better after you do.

For more information, contact us today at Prime Fitness NJ

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