EXERCISE AND DEPRESSION

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HOW EXERCISE RELIEVE DEPRESSION

Exercise helps prevent and improve a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis.  Studies revealed that exercise reduces feelings of anxiety, and  that the effects of regular exercises can last longer than antidepressants.  Exercise aids in depression by producing feel-good neurotransmitters along with endorphins which help in mood regulation. It also helps increase self confidence, staying in shape can make you feel better about how you look.  You get more social interaction. You can meet and socialize with other people while you exercise or doing physical activities, like when you’re hiking, running, or in gym.  This can boost your mood,  and takes your mind off worries, which often involve negative thoughts that can trigger depression and anxiety.

Our physical body and mind have a strong connection.  Incorporating workouts in your daily routine can help alleviate mood disorders.  However you cannot rely on exercise as the sole remedy for mood disorders.  Regular exercise can improve mood in people with mild to moderate depression, and plays a supporting role in people with severe depression.  It is also important to differentiate between physical activity and exercise.  Both are beneficial to your health.  But with exercise it is important to go for an exercise test by a qualified physician, to check the capability level of your heart to handle workout load, and to know the type and level of exercise you can perform.

Exercise is a planned, structural and repetitive body movements done to improve or maintain physical fitness, and help you feel better.  A duration as little as ten to fifteen minutes a day can make a difference.  Just getting started can make you feel good.  Physical activity is any activity that works your muscles and requires energy.  A physical activity can also help improve your mood.

BEST EXERCISE OR PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES FOR RELIEVING ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Happiness inducing workouts and physical activities, best for relieving anxiety and depression include yoga and aerobic exercise, running, hiking, dancing, strength training, and Tai Chi.

YOGA

Yoga is the best all round exercise you can give yourself.  It make you feel relaxed, eases insomnia, anxiety, and neurotic symptoms. It reduces stress by normalising cortisol, stress hormone, levels.  Performing yoga, even on a weekly basis, can free your mind and body from stress, releasing blockages in the muscular, nervous and glandular systems.  It focuses on deep breaths and internal focus which can be beneficial for people dealing with anxiety and depression.  The body and mind are strengthened by combining yoga poses with yogic breathing techniques.

AEROBIC EXERCISES

Good amount of endorphins released during aerobic workouts creates a mood stirring effect which aids in reducing stress, and thus the prevalence of depression.  Aerobic exercise involves repeating use of large muscle groups for a continuous time period, and considered sufficiently vigorous in increasing the body’s requirement for oxygen in addition to intake of air as well as the breathing rate.  Moderate intensity exercises being extended over a specific time period, as well as being responsible for overloading the lungs and heart, thus enabling them to work harder as contrasted to the rest, make aerobic exercise the best choice.  Types of aerobic exercises include fitness walking, stair climbing, cycling, running, swimming, skating, and dance.

RUNNING

Running releases endorphins, the natural feel-good chemicals in your body that give you a euphoric feeling.  It is proven to be just as effective as psychotherapy in alleviating symptoms of depression.  Regular exercise causes the same structural changes in the brain that are thought to be behind the effectiveness of antidepressant medication.  Many people find running to be uniquely effective. Running doesn’t have barriers like other sports or exercises.  You can run anywhere, and anytime.  You do not have to pay for running.  The only possible barriers that I can think of is health and weather, and both can only be temporary challenges.  So you have no excuse not to run, lower or prevent stress, and enhance your wellbeing.

HIKING

Hiking is a mood boosting cardiovascular activity.  Spending time outdoors have several benefits which includes lowered stress hormones, improved mood, enhanced relationships with friends and family, enhanced mental wellbeing, and exposure to sunlight which is the source of Vitamin D, which studies found that it relieves depression.

DANCING

Dancing is a form of personal expression which can help strengthen the connection between the mind and the body.  Similar to workouts at the gym, dance has a similar stress relieving property.  When you dance your body feels good, and when the body feels good, the mind does too.  You don’t have to attend dance classes to realise the benefits, dancing to music in the comfort of your home can make you feel calm and optimistic, thus relieve stress, anxiety and depression.  Dancing have minimum barriers.

STRENGTH TRAINING

Strength training is not only good for building muscles, but it can also have strong mental effects, including reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.  It improves mood and self esteem, regulate sleep, and reduces stress.

TAI CHI

Tai Chi which incorporates Chinese martial arts with meditative movements relieves anxiety and depression, and effective for general stress management.  The workout involves mental concentration, physical balance, muscle relaxation and relaxed breathing, which can all play a role in regulating mood.

HOW TO BEGIN AND STAY MOTIVATED

Just like any other project, you need to plan your exercise routine or regular physical activity.  Getting started  make you feel good.  Sticking to the routine can be a challenge.  You must choose what you enjoy so that you can stay motivated.  Draw a time schedule of activities.  Set reasonable goals.  Don’t set unrealistic goals, you can begin with less hours and number of days per week, and increase frequency gradually.

Analyze your barriers and work around them.  Your barriers can be money or affordability, your work, your family or health.  Prepare yourself for setbacks.  Get professional support or talk to a mental health professional for guidance and support.  Pat yourself on the back for each accomplishment, big or small.

2 Comments

  1. Depression is inevitable in our world today but as it is inevitable, then there is a great need to profer solution to helping the situation and I am glad your have listed some cool suggestions. Many people would often go for antidepressants in which their situation may not call for it. I am really excited you have given exercise as a means to get over it which is a tested and trusted way to getting out of depression. But also ill love to say you as an individual should work on your mindset to always see the better of things. Thanks for your time.

    1. Thank you Chloe for stopping by.  I highly appreciate your time and comments.

      All the best.

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