For years now, it has been a widely held belief that exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of depression, and recent studies appear to back up this idea. Of course, exercise alone isn’t enough to eliminate depression, but the benefits of exercising while you’re feeling down are manifold.
Benefits of doing exercises to reduce depression
Makes you feel better
One of the reasons exercises is so successful at reducing depression symptoms is the release of endorphins that occurs naturally during a workout. And, not only can exercises produce those chemicals that help lift your spirits, but it can also produce other psychological benefits. For example, when you exercise, you have a chance to focus solely on your physical activity and put worries out of your mind for a period. Plus, looking better and feeling fitter may provide a much-needed pick-me-up.
Starting a regimen
First, note that anytime you want to make a dramatic change to your lifestyle that may be contributing to the depression, you should consult with your doctor. He or she can steer you toward activities that are suited to your ability, age, physical fitness, and other factors.Even with your doctor’s recommendations, you may find it difficult to decide which exercises to make part of your routine. If you are considering traditional exercises like jogging, swimming, or lifting weights, make sure you think about the other activities available to you.
Sticking with it
Whatever your reason for starting an exercise routine, it may be difficult to stick with it. One of the most common mistakes people make when moving from a sedentary lifestyle to a more active one is overdoing it. They often put so much energy and intensity into the first few workouts that they get burned out quickly and possibly even cause minor injuries that make them less likely to return to that regimen. Instead of risking burn-out, take things slowly and become familiar with your body’s capabilities and limitations.Once you’re into the swing of depression, you’ll want to set an obtainable goal that makes sense for you, whether it’s walking a mile a day, swimming ten laps in the pool every other day, or biking to work once a week. It’s very important to focus on making this goal attainable because you don’t want to discourage yourself by having unrealistic expectations and consequently failing to meet them. That said, should you fall short of your goal for any reason, just try the next day again rather than getting angry at yourself.
Just remember that anything you can do to get off the couch is a step in the right direction, both for your physical and mental health alike.