Studies show that exercising can help lift depression, no matter what your age. In fact, in cases of mild depression, it’s often the recommended treatment. Just walking can be an effective tonic to lift the spirits. For more severe cases of depression, many therapists are adding exercise as an adjunct therapy. While we always recommend a full body workout that hits all types of fitness, including strength, flexibility, endurance and balance, you don’t do it all to get benefits for depression.
It’s all about stimulating endorphins, burning off stress hormones and getting your blood circulating.
When you exercise, your body starts burning off the fight or flight stress hormones. While flexibility training won’t necessarily do it, something as simple as walking or running will. Movements as simple as slow dancing can be beneficial for those that don’t enjoy walking. Movements like tai chi are good for those that are wheelchair bound. It’s all about getting the body moving and boosting circulation.
Just 30 minutes of walking every day can help you feel better.
If you don’t think you can walk for a half hour at a time, try three sessions of ten minutes each. Studies show that as long as you get at least ten minutes in each session, three sessions have the same benefits as a half hour one. It’s all about stimulating the endorphins. Do it regularly and you’ll feel much better after each session. After several weeks, you’ll probably be able to do an entire half hour at once. Do it regularly each day to get the depression lifting benefits.
Strength training is also a way to get depression relief.
A number of studies show that strength training is good for lifting depression. In fact, one focused on stroke survivors that did strength-building workouts for ten weeks. Not only did the study show it provided a number of benefits for overall health, it helped lift depression that often occurs after a stroke. Strength-building also improves your self-image and feeling yourself grow stronger is part of that. Increasing your strength gives you more of a feeling of self-reliance and independence. They can also lift your mood.
- Yoga can also help lift depression. While yoga builds flexibility and strength, it also helps develop discipline and mindfulness. The breathing exercises help settle your mind and act like a type of meditation.
- Try walking barefoot on the grass on a sunny day. Both the sun and the grounding that comes when your bare feet connect to the ground can help lift your spirits.
- Have fun with the kids and make memories. Whether it’s taking them to the zoo and walking, shooting hoops, dancing in the living room or riding bikes, you’ll feel better exercising with the kids. If you don’t feel like it, fake it until you can make it.
- Another reason exercise can help anyone of any age is that it helps you sleep better at night. Lack of sleep can cause mild depression and depression can also cause insomnia. Break the cycle with exercise.
For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy