Can Exercise Treat Depression? What the Research Says

A question that a lot of specialists are pondering is, “Can exercise treat depression?”

It is likely that you already know the prevalence of depression; however, what you may not know is the incredibly huge number of people who suffer from it.

All over the globe, around the world, 280 million suffer from depression. For the U.S. alone, 21 million suffer from at most one major depression episode per year. [1]

It can be a serious mental health problem that must be addressed since untreated depression could have a wide-ranging impact.

Unfortunately, the over-reliance on potentially harmful drugs is now all too common.

In the end, the quest for more secure, safer options has resulted in the study of the idea of exercising as a possible treatment for depression.

Understanding Depression

Depression is a multifaceted mental health issue.

It is marked by persistent feelings of sadness, despair, and a lack of excitement or enjoyment in daily routines.

The impact it has on everyday life is profound, frequently resulting in impaired functional and social functioning as well as strained relationships and the loss of level of living.

In certain instances, untreated depression could have severe consequences, such as the increased likelihood of developing long-term health problems or committing substance use.

Traditional Treatments for Depression

The traditional treatments for depression generally comprise of pharmacological treatments that include antidepressant drugs and a variety of psychotherapy.

Although these methods have proven to be beneficial for many people, they do have disadvantages.

Medicines can trigger dependence or side effects or dependence, and access to therapy can be limited due to cost or availability. Or stigma.

Thinking there’s an alternative to this, many doctors and depression sufferers have turned to an easily accessible, safe, and natural therapy: physical exercise.

Exercise and Depression: How it Improves Mental Health

There are plenty of advantages to exercising that can be attributed to your body, from weight reduction to the development of lean muscle mass.

Did you know that exercising can also benefit your mood and your brain?

Regular exercise has been associated with improved mental function, increased self-esteem, and a lower likelihood of developing anxiety or depression.

Release of Endorphins

Have you thought of the term “endorphins? They are often referred to as your body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals; endorphins can ease pain and provide a euphoric feeling.

Exercise is a key factor in fighting depression, principally through the stimulation of endorphins.

The endorphins can ease feelings of anxiety and sadness and improve overall well-being.

Increases Mood-Boosting Neurotransmitters

Exercise also boosts your production of serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that are essential in controlling mood, motivation, as well as reward.

Being a natural stress relief, exercise can be a great way to help people turn their attention away from negative thoughts and feelings.

Increase in Self-esteem

Physical activity can bring a sense of success and accomplishment while also boosting confidence and strength, even in the face of hardship.

Furthermore, exercise is often used as a mood booster, and many feel an immediate boost in their spirits after an exercise.

A study concluded that physical activity proved more effective than drugs!

Types of Exercise for Depression

Training doesn’t have to mean you need to join a crowded fitness center! There are plenty of choices. Select the one (or several) you love working on the best.

The exercise that you’re performing is more efficient than the one you’re not doing. Here are a few suggestions to help you get going:

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercises also referred to as cardiovascular exercises, can be described as activities that increase the heart rate and breathing speed for a long time. They help to improve your endurance in the cardiovascular area and improve general fitness.

Stair climbing or the staircase-stepper machine.

Cross-country skiing.

Training on the Elliptical.

Resistance Training

Resistance training, also referred to by the name of strengthening, involves exercises that test your muscles to work against an object, usually using your body weight, resistance bands, or weights.

Here are a few examples of exercises for resistance training:

Free Weights (e.g., Dumbbells, Barbells, Kettlebells).

Mindfulness-Based Exercise

Mindfulness-based activities help you focus on what is happening at the moment. They allow you to increase self-awareness and build an open-minded attitude towards your thoughts and emotions.

How Long Should You Exercise For?

The time and frequency of exercise needed for maximum results can differ based on the person. However, the CDC advises:

150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity practice and 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise

Seventy-five minutes a week of intense training.

A mixture of both.

This is easily broken into five consecutive days with 30 minutes per day of moderate-intensity exercise and three straight days with 25 minutes of intense exercise.

To maximize the results For maximum benefit, the CDC suggests that you double these numbers: 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity workout, 150 minutes a week of intense training, or any mixture of both.

Exercise and Depression: Get Active to Fight Back

The study on exercising as a method of treating depression offers promising results that could be beneficial to those looking for alternative or complementary approaches for controlling their mood.

With numerous benefits, including the release of neurochemicals that boost mood as well as stress reduction and increased self-esteem, exercising has the potential to play an essential role in relieving depression symptoms.

Are you willing to start a fitness program but aren’t certain where to begin? We can help you!

Let our experts assist and guide you on your path to a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Register for your complimentary appointment today!

Do not wait any longer. Make the first step in unlocking the benefits of exercising for your mental well-being!

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