Whether you’ve lost a job, a loved one or had any other rough spot in the road, depression is natural. In most cases, it’s short-lived or relatively mild. For those cases of depression, working out can help. However, for severe depression that keeps you in bed, not willing to continue, you need professional help. Even if you’re getting professional help, exercising may provide an adjunct therapy and is often used instead of medication by counselors.
Stress hormones can create stress and stress can create depression.
When you’re under stress, the fight or flight response is triggered. However, it was meant to handle the stress that occurs when a wild animal or warring tribe is the threat. It wasn’t meant for the stress that comes from a job loss. Fight or flight prepares your body to run or fight, neither of which are suitable in most cases. When you don’t burn off the hormones of stress that prepare the body, it can lead to anxiety and depression. Exercise helps you do that and even triggers the production of hormones that make you feel good. It increases the potential for neurogenesis, which is part of the process for creating new brain cells. That can help prevent mental decline.
Strength training can help build the body and also help relieve the brain.
Several studies show that using strength training can provide benefits to reduce depression. One study was of stroke survivors, who often suffer from depression. When the group studied did strength training for ten weeks, they had a significant improvement in the signs of depression. Scientists hypothesized that some of it was attributed to the feeling of control gained through strength training. The also added that getting more control improved their mood, while minimizing anxiety.
You’ll improve your circulation.
Aerobic exercise, especially when it’s vigorous, gets your blood circulating. Studies show that vigorous aerobic workouts are probably the best for fighting depression. It may not even have to be that vigorous, but requires constant movement, like a long walk. The more intense the aerobic exercise, the more endorphins and other happy hormones are released. Those hormones act like natural morphine to deal with pain, but they also give you a sense of well-being that can lift your spirits and minimize depression.
- Less strenuous movements, like the slow movements of tai chi or yoga, not only improve your flexibility, they also can reduce depression according to many studies.
- If you find yourself depressed, but aren’t ready for a formal workout, take a walk or turn on happy music and dance. If the song is happy and motivational, the combination of movement and lyrics can provide relief.
- One of the biggest problems that occur with depression, is that you don’t feel like doing anything, especially exercise. If that’s the case, force yourself to go for a walk and increase your walking speed and distance bit by bit.
- Severe depression is a serious problem. Don’t delay getting the help of a professional. You can add exercise to your program even if you’re working with a professional. If you have a bad day, you can always exercise a little extra or get out your walking, dancing or running shoes and start moving.
For more information, contact us today at Team Worx