Exercise Depression and Exercise

Let’s get one thing straight, depression is NOT a sign of weakness. Even though we don’t know the exact cause of the illness, we do know that it’s likely a combination of genetics, biological, psychological, and environmental factors. It affects all forms of the human race, but with the right treatment and self-care, people who are affected can lead a normal life.

Depression and Exercise

What Is Depression?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depressive disorder, or chronic depression, is a common, but serious mood disorder. It affects how you feel, think, and how you deal with everyday activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.

Depression can occur at any stage of life, but usually happens in adulthood, where women are more prone to depression than men.

It causes the feeling of sadness, and/or loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed.

Other symptoms include:

  • Change in appetite, whether it’s weight loss, or weight gain that is unrelated to diets.
  • Trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Feeling of worthless, or guilt.
  • Difficulty thinking, concentration, or decision making.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.

Please talk to your doctor if you have been experiencing any of these symptoms for more than 2 weeks, or immediately if you have any thoughts of harming yourself.

Depression and Exercise

If you are depressed, and you have lost interest in things you use to enjoy, then there is a good chance that exercise is out of the question. However, think of exercise as medication without the bad side effects.

Several studies, like this one, have shown that exercise is often more effective than medication in treating depression, because naturally, you’re releasing the mood elevating chemicals in your brain.

Besides seeing your body changing right before your eyes, setting goals (even the smallest ones), and completing the challenges can boost your self-confidence.

Exercise can also distract you from any negative thoughts running though your head that feed depression, and anxiety, or if you’re like me, exercise can be a great element of stress relief.

The thought of exercise might be non-existent, but with a little effort, and a push to even just go out for a walk around the block, you may find yourself feeling a little better, and all it took was some mental strength to get you up and going.

Exercise isn’t a miracle pill, just like anti-depressant medication, it takes time for it to really work. At least with exercise, not only will it help your mind, it will also help your body, and there aren’t any medications that can do both like exercise can.

For more information on depression, visit the National Institute of Mental Health , and for suicide prevention, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

What do you think?