Not only does moderate exercise help to treat depression, but it can also prevent it. According to a research team from the University of Toronto, moderate exercise might as well be considered to be one of the best approaches to beating depression. Apart from providing you with obvious benefits when it comes to mental health, exercise can also help prevent several chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.
However, anyone that is suffering or has ever suffered from depression will tell you that when you’re affected by this mental disorder, exercise is the last thing that will be on your mind. However, if you want to get better, then you need to muster all the strength you can in order to motivate yourself to start working out.
If you do, you may just find that how much difference exercise can make, and it will be easier for you to continue engaging in regular physical activity. Some of the best ways to properly motivate yourself to start being physically active is calling up a friend to take a walk with you, doing some house chores, or taking a pet for a walk.
Some people get motivated to start working out simply by reading about the main health benefits that you can experience when engaging in physical activity. To help you get motivated, here are 4 ways exercise helps combat depression.
Exercise Lowers Stress Levels
Physical activity is known for increasing the levels of feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain. In fact, there’s a term known as ‘runner’s high,’ which describes the euphoric feeling you experience when you work out. The endorphins that are released while you exercise will help you reduce your stress levels, making it easier for you to achieve a deep sense of relaxation.
If you don’t deal with stress in a healthy way, your mental health is only going to get worse over time. Knowing how to manage your stress levels will help you unwind and relax, which is extremely important for both your physical (stress is considered to be one of the major causes of many serious diseases) and mental health.
Exercise Is Natural Medication
If you’re suffering from depression, then you’ve probably been prescribed some pills in order to help you deal with it. Depression medications work by artificially increasing the levels of feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain.
However, exercise raises the levels of certain feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin naturally. Therefore, regular exercise can only support your recovery and help you to feel better.
Exercise Lowers Anxiety Levels
Exercise lowers anxiety levels, which often accompanies depression. Choose moderate level activity to calm and relax your mind. Yoga and tai chi are great mind-body exercises to manage anxiety.
It’s important to note that high intensity exercise is known to increase anxiety symptoms, so choose moderate activity, such as swimming, walking, and light cycling. If you’re to new regular physical activity, then you should start slowly and work your way up to moderate intensity exercises.
Many people suffer from anxiety, which is a disorder directly linked to depression, so, if you don’t deal with your anxiety, you may not enjoy the full results of recovering from depression.
Greater Feelings Of Contentment And Calm
Performing physical exercise allows you to exert yourself both physically and mentally so you can extinguish your mental concerns by completely exhausting their energetic resources.
This sounds complex but can be understood simply as ‘being so exhausted that you don’t have the energy to be concerned’.
When it comes to depression, this causes the body and mind to go through a process whereby it enters into a state of exhaustion and then becomes reinvigorated with energy and motivation once it moves through and beyond that state, thereby counteracting feelings of depression.
Exercise Boosts Self-Esteem
Although any form of exercise boosts your self-esteem, and provides a sense of accomplishment, yoga is especially noted for helping you feel good about yourself. This is because it is meditative in nature and places a greater focus on the inner self, helping to perfect the skill of mindfulness and introspection.
However, any exercise routine will improve your assertiveness, creativity, and intuition. Not to mention that it will also provide you with a healthier enthusiasm for life. Since a majority of self-esteem issues are often linked to body image, exercise is also useful in improving your physical appearance, so you will learn to appreciate both your mind and your body.