Can Exercise Help Symptoms of Depression?

Can Exercise Help Symptoms of Depression?

It is estimated that 7.1% of the United States population has experienced at least one depressive episode in the past 12 months, making depression the leading mental disorder in the country. Often people will take to Google, looking for natural remedies or ways to help alleviate symptoms without using medication. One common recommendation is that exercise can help people suffering from anxiety or depression. Curious? Keep reading below to understand more about how exercise can be a powerful recovery tool for those seeking support with their symptoms.

 

Runners High

Is there any truth to the expression ‘Runners High?’ It’s used to describe the feel-good effect of neurotransmitter chemicals that are released during exercise that increase a person’s mood after a workout. So it is no wonder that more and more psychologists are combining traditional antidepressant medication with exercise to treat patients experiencing depression and or anxiety.

If you understand the cause of depression and the effects of exercise it makes perfect sense. William Walsh, Ph.D., president of the Walsh Research Institute, a nonprofit mental health research institution in Illinois, says ‘simply put, depression and anxiety are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain.’ Countless studies have shown that exercise releases feel-good chemicals.

 

Understanding Endorphins

Endorphins are only one of many neurotransmitters released when you exercise. Physical activity also stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These brain chemicals play a vital role in regulating your mood.

For example, regular exercise can positively impact serotonin levels in your brain. Raising your levels of serotonin boosts your mood and overall sense of well-being. It can also help improve your appetite and sleep cycles, which are often negatively affected by depression. Getting exercise doesn’t mean you have to break the bank in the meantime, possibly making your depression and anxiety levels worse. Consider setting up an accountability partner to take walks in the park with you several days a week. The physical impact will surely boost your mood as well as getting social stimulation too.

 

Home Gym Options

If doing activities in public is stressful in itself to attempt, consider buying a simple yoga mat. If you have no idea what a down dog is there are plenty of online yoga sessions to get you started. There can still be a social and accountability aspect of practicing yoga via online sessions but in a private setting. Physical activity in the privacy of your own home can remove the anxiety of not having the newest workout gear or looking silly when you’re not as strong as so and so at the gym. Simple