09 Nov 3 Ways to Beat Depression Through Exercise
By Graeme Cowan
Exercise helps beat depression — that’s not just a theory, but scientific fact.
Many people think exercise involves grueling workouts or exhausting runs.
Sure, for Alasdair Campbell and Tricia Goddard — interviewed in my book, Back From The Brink — cross-country runs and marathons are an important part of their wellness plan and help ward off depression or manage it better if and when it strikes.
But that doesn’t mean the benefits of exercise for beating or preventing depression require you to sign up for the next Ironman competition. After all, mustering up the energy to even get out of bed during our worst moments can be a real struggle.
You’re not alone. Nearly everyone I have spoken to has experienced supreme difficulty exercising while depressed — although not one of these people ever reported feeling worse after a walk.
Exercise need not be intensive or exhausting. A study by Dr. Andrea Dunn found that patients who did the equivalent of 35 minutes’ walking, six days per week, experienced a reduction in their level of depression by 47 percent. This study, conducted at the Cooper Research Institute in Dallas, Texas, shows that as little as three hours of regular exercise a week reduces the symptoms of mild to moderate depression as effectively as Prozac and other antidepressants.
In addition, the proven benefits of exercise in treating or preventing depression extend to even moderate physical activity, such as gardening.
Aerobic exercise, in particular, improves blood flow and oxygen to the brain. It has the added benefit of releasing endorphins (natural feel-good chemicals) into the body.
Moderate physical activity produces risk-free benefits for people with depression. Unlike medication, there are no detrimental side-effects.
3 Forms of Exercise That Aren’t Really Exercise
1. Meet with a friend for a walk.
Socializing can be exhausting even when we’re not depressed. But contact with a friend can be a great source of emotional support and compassion. Meeting a friend for a walk – with or without a dog – can be a great way of combining casual social interaction with moderate physical activity.
To read full article, visit PsychCentral.