Four Exercises That Fight Depression When you’re depressed, one of the worst things you can do is just sit inside and do nothing. Exercise boosts endorphin levels in your brain, leading to a sense of well-being and euphoria. Even gentle exercise like walking can make you feel better. Researchers have found that active people have higher levels of contentment than sedentary people. When you need a boost, try one of these four exercises and say goodbye to depression.
The first exercise to try when you want to relieve your depression is running. You don’t have to sprint, or run a 5K to get the anti-depressive benefits. Running just 20 minutes a day prompts your brain to produce more depression fighting chemicals. Studies show that any level of intensity is enough to stimulate your brain. Try to run at least three days a week for the most benefits. Runners high is a real thing. At a certain level of exertion your brain releases endorphins that produce feelings of joy and well-being. It’s also difficult to think about your problems while you’re running.
Strength training is another effective exercise that can boost your mood. Studies show that strength training reduces symptoms of depression. It gives you something to focus on and offers rewards you can see and feel. The intense concentration it takes helps take your mind off of your problems. Start off with light weights and slowly work your way up to heavier ones. Simple exercises you can try include, bicep curls, shoulder presses, and leg lifts. Working with a personal trainer for a few sessions is a great way to get the basics down and start an effective routine.
For more relaxing exercise that reduces depression and makes you more flexible, try yoga. A recent study shows that women who did yoga twice a day for 8 weeks had a significant reduction in depression symptoms. Their anxiety also decreased. Yoga involves concentration and focusing on your body which allows your mind to focus on other things than your problems. Yoga also reduces stress and anxiety, modulating your stress response systems. It lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, which also contribute towards reducing depression.
Tai Chi is another exercise that can alleviate depression. The movements are slow and gentle, and require concentration. In a recent study, patients suffering from depression that took tai chi for three months showed a reduction in their symptoms. The group setting of tai chi can help improve depression symptoms. Tai chi also helps you sleep, and relieves stress and anxiety.
When you start feeling depressed, try one or all of these exercises and alleviate your depression symptoms. Not only will you feel better mentally, but you’ll lose weight and get fit in the process. Just the act of getting out in the sun is a good thing, as research shows that sunlight can boost your mood. These exercises are good for your body and your mind. Don’t let depression continue to drag you down, take control and fight it with these exercises.