Jun 16, 2011 Posted Under: Mental Health

Depression – What About Exercise?

Feeling the blues? Take a hike!

Studies show that people who engage in brisk walking for at least 30 minutes cope better from mild to moderate depression.

Experts agree that one of the most probable reasons is the widely accepted fact that exercise promotes release of “mood elevator” chemicals in the brain like endorphins. In addition, moderate exercise boosts the immune system, protecting the body from sickness which could sometimes trigger depression.

It also helps boost one’s self esteem, especially when one would start seeing improvements in his/her condition. Exercise also allows for one to sleep better while ensuring that one is at its peak energy during the day.

In addition, exercise can be a productive form of distraction for someone suffering from depression. It allows a person to take one’s mind off the issues that’s troubling him/her.

Meanwhile, exercise done in groups allow for one to improve his/her social skills and build a network of support.

The biggest challenge, however, when it comes to depressed individuals is how to keep those butts (pun not intended) out of bed and into the gym or field. That is why, it is very important for one to be determined in getting rid of those blues, after all, who would want to feel low all the time?

This is also where one’s support group would come in handy. Having someone to inspire and force you to move would prove to be helpful, because once you start, it would not be difficult to keep going as even brief periods of exercise could help elevate one’s mood for significant number of hours.

Before starting an exercise regimen, however, it would be wise to consult a doctor so that you would know what exercise to engage in and the limits that you should be putting on your body.

Setting a realistic goal, like being able to jog one kilometer on the first run, would also be recommended, rather than frustrating oneself on trying to achieve something that may seem impossible to accomplish for the first few weeks of exercise.

Another great idea that would help encourage one to exercise is the fact that exercise is not a chore, as such, it is but fitting for one to enjoy it. Look for a sport or some physical activity that best captures your interest. Exercise, after all, is not just about going to the gym or finishing laps in the track. Try swimming or basketball, or how about football or cricket? When you decide to engage in an exercise program, start by learning your favorite sport, in that way you not only develop a new hobby but also an enjoyable means of boosting your immune system and mood.

When you have decided the kind of program to engage in, always consider the basic rule of exercise and that is, start with a 10 to 15-minute warm-up session and end with a cool-down session.

Warm-ups and cool-downs prepare your muscles and cardio-pulmonary system before an activity that could stress them out. It conditions the body, preventing exercise related injuries like sprains and strains, as well as unnecessary stress to the heart.

So, the next time you get visited by sad thoughts, get those running shoes out and chase those blues away.

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