3 Ways to Beat Depression With Exercise
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It is a scientific fact that exercise is a great way to help beat depression, but many individuals believe that exercise involves exhausting runs or grueling workouts. Sure, marathons and cross country runs are very important to help ward off depression or at least better manage it when and if it strikes. But that doesn’t mean you have to sign up for the next competition to benefit from depression prevention. After all, during our worst moments, it can be a real struggle to gain the energy to even get out of bed.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Mostly everyone I have ever spoken to has admitted to experiencing supreme difficulty exercising while being depressed, BUT not even one of them ever reported feeling any worse after a walk.
Exercise does not need to be exhausting or intensive. Dr. Andrea Dunn completed a study and found that patients experienced a reduction of nearly 47 percent of their depression level after walking 35 minutes six days per week. Conducted in Dallas, Texas at the Cooper Research Institute, the study shows that regular exercise as little as three hours per week reduces depression that is moderate or mild just as effectively as Prozac or other antidepressants. In addition, the proven benefits of preventing or treating depression with exercise extend to even some moderate physical activity, gardening being a great example.
In particular, aerobic exercise improves oxygen and blood flow to the brain. The added benefit is endorphins (Natural chemicals that make you feel good) being released into your body. Moderate physical activity for people with depression produces benefits that are risk-free. There aren’t side-effects that can be detrimental, unlike medication.
3 Exercises That Are SUPER EASY
1. Meet with a friend for a walk.
Even when you aren’t depressed, socializing tends to be exhausting. But having contact with a friend can be a wonderful source of compassion and support. A great way to combine moderate physical activity with casual social interaction is by walking with a dog and a friend, or without a dog. It is OK if your friend isn’t aware that you are depressed. You are not obligated to tell them. It is OK if they do know, though. Not to mention, walking can assist with nervous anxiety and any awkwardness feelings, whether discussing depression or other subjects. You are focused exclusively on the person you are with and the conversation.
Quick Tip: See if your friend can meet you at your place if in the past you made plans then felt as if you were too depressed to follow through with them.
2. Do some cleaning or gardening
Interestingly, gardening was specifically included in a longitudinal review of research over 26 years as a part of the moderate daily physical activity which can have a strong impact on preventing and treating depression. Do you have a garden? Get out there and mow the lawn, plant some seeds, or do some pruning. You aren’t expected to blitz the entire back or front yard at one time, but this kind of activity has added advantages of the ability to see your efforts results, which is a great motivator. Do you live in an apartment? Spruce it up a bit. Clean the fridge, your bedroom or a cupboard. Particularly washing or scrubbing, it is all activity.
3. Take a pet for a walk.
There are many positive stories about people suffering from depression who had a furry friend who helped them. Dogs in particular have a lot of infectious energy that needs to be walked or an off every day. So why not combine a relatively moderate effort of walking and your love for a four-legged companion by taking a stroll in the park? If you do not have a dog, offer to walk a neighbor or a friend’s dog. This way you will be doing a favor to your friend while enjoying the benefits of your depression treatment strategy of walking a dog without having to deal with the responsibility of talking care of the dog after the walk is over. Is there particularly anything strenuous in that? I didn’t think so, but it still counts for your moderate physical activity if done each day for 30 minutes and it aids in making you feel better and beating or preventing depression. Even the moderate exercise suggestions made can be started off small for just a few minutes or so each day. The anticipation may be too much to ward you off additional attempts if you do too much too fast.
Interesting enough, Andrea Dunn’s study showed that three periods of exercise for just ten minutes can have the same or similar effect as a single 30-minute block.
Consider two or three goals of exercise each day consisting of 10 minute periods when you are ready! You CAN prevent or beat depression with a few easy exercising rituals. Are you on your way to making yourself feel better?