About 350 million people around the world suffer from depression. Increasingly, medical professionals are concluding that mental health and physical health are connected. As such, many depression sufferers have turned to alternative therapies for relief. More specifically, it causes many to ask the question: Does exercise help with depression? Recent studies suggest that it’s a good solution for depression. If you’re thinking about using exercise for depression, here’s a look at why it could help.
How Does Exercise Help with Depression?
Exercise for depression and other mood disorders makes sense from a physical standpoint. Research suggests that exercise affects the body in some specific ways, which can help to alleviate depressive symptoms. First of all, when you exercise, your brain releases endorphins. These feel-good chemicals promote a sense of well-being. While depression has many causes, chemical imbalances and stress play important roles. Exercise regulates these and other causes of depression from a chemical standpoint.
Additionally, getting out and playing ball or going to a yoga class gets your mind off your troubles. Worrying about your current challenges causes stress, which in turn, can cause depression.
Sometimes, a negative self-image can create a depressive state. Exercise for depression can mitigate the psychological and emotional challenges that cause depression. You start to look and feel better because you’re exercising more. This bolsters your confidence. It also stops the loop of negative self-talk, so you feel less blue.
Aside from this, many forms of exercise provide you with social interaction. In other words, if you feel lonely and isolated, playing team sports can help. Finally, many people get depressed because they feel overwhelmed. They don’t know how to cope with their problems. Because of this, they feel blue. Getting out to exercise is one positive way to cope with stress.
Types of Exercise
Some people love team sports. They enjoy the camaraderie and the thrill of competition. Others don’t like these elements of gameplay. They prefer jogging around the park or spending time in the gym. However, there are many types of exercise services. Any of them can help you alleviate the symptoms of depression. For example, you may not think about gardening when you think about exercise. However, gardening is exercise. If you love it, then do it.
It’s important to note as well that you don’t have to do these activities in one fell swoop. In fact, you shouldn’t. Health professionals recommend that people aged 18 to 64 get 150 minutes of exercise each week. However, you can split up your exercise times. For example, you can walk for 30 minutes five times a week. You can also do three 50-minute exercise sessions or some other combination.
Exercise Vs. Drugs
Many depression sufferers use antidepressant drugs to alleviate their depression symptoms. However, regular exercise does as much for some depression sufferers as drugs do. Exercise alone may not help someone whose depression is severe.
Science supports these results. A study followed 156 people with depressive symptoms. Half of them were treated with drugs. The other half adhered to a 40-minute exercise routine three times a week. At the 16-week mark, the improvement in both groups was about the same. However, at the six-month mark, the exercise groups had a lower relapse rate.
Effective depression treatment that includes exercise has been shown to improve depressive symptoms. However, many people who suffer from depression may need a bit more support. That’s where residential care can help. If you’re facing depression and need some support, we’re here to help. At Rose Hill Center, we provide our residents with the space to grow to better health. Contact 866.367.0220 today.