Exercise and Depression: Making the Connection

Exercise and Depression: Making the ConnectionExercise has many great health benefits and improves not only your physical condition but also your mental well-being. Therefore, not only those looking to better manage their weight and appearance, but also anyone suffering from stress, anxiety, and depression which we all do at one point or another, benefit greatly by refreshing their mind. Regular exercise also helps to create a more consistent structure, sleep schedule, and a routine that will leave you feeling both happier and accomplished.

Those that suffer from depression often eat too much, spend a lot of extra, unnecessary time in the bed, sleeping, and overall just feeling down. And while a lot of people believe it’s necessary to jump right into a ‘complex’ or demanding exercise routine this is anything but true. In fact, it can be as simple as just adding a 15-minute walk every day to your routine, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and researching to develop a more meaningful, healthy diet.

Regular exercise not only releases “feel good chemicals” such as serotonin and dopamine, but it also helps sweat out toxins, can prevent sickness, and overall improves both your immune system and metabolism. This means fighting off illness while burning through calories more efficiently and achieving a desired, healthy, and meaningful weight.
After all, losing unwanted weight, fat, or simply focusing on managing your current weight and ‘toning’ can help you feel better about yourself and boost confidence. Exercise can also be a great social activity, which also helps combat depression. This can include finding and work out with a gym partner, and meeting new people – and who knows? Maybe you’ll even find your future love at the next gym or pool you work out in!

Speaking of pools, there are various types of workouts available that a lot of people overlook. For example, swimming, sports like basketball, running, jogging, cycling, and even doing high resistance, low-impact kettlebell workouts. Nobody says you must jump right into a “P90X” extreme shredding exercise program. And believe it or not, diet both now and in the future, will play a stronger role in determining whether you burn off unwanted fat, and maintain the new, desirable, and enjoyable physique that you’re wanting. Just make sure you consult first with your physician, no matter your age, to ensure it’s safe for you to do the workouts you would like and find what works best for you.

Best of all? Regular and even exercising once every two days – or more than you might now – can dramatically reduce high blood pressure, help you balance your glucose (sugar) levels to prevent diseases such as diabetes, and even gets your heart and blood pumping more which contributes to a healthier heart and preventing heart-attacks or cardiovascular failure as you age.

Just remember, remain realistic with yourself and your body. Try to find the median between what your body is physically able to do, and what your mental strength is – and push! Just ensure you’re taking good care of your body, diet, and using proper form and stretching before and after your exercise routine.

It can also help to create a daily or weekly workout schedule, mix up weight lifting (or resistance) with cardio, and don’t forget your rest days. Resting is critical, just as much as protein is important, and not doing so can worsen depression or even disrupt your sleep schedule. On a side note, if you currently take any medications or regularly see a therapist and psychiatrist double check with them first before diving into any “pre-workout” powders, as some can have adverse reactions, negative side effects, or even worsen depression caused by “crashes” – much like an energy drink or other caffeinated drink.

Image Credit : Keifit

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