Depression is an American epidemic, with almost one in 10 adults reporting symptoms. It's especially strong among women and those moving through middle age. Fortunately, there are many ways to take control of this discouraging time, even if you choose not to use antidepressants and other synthetic compounds. There's a well-known link between exercise and depression relief, with numerous benefits.
The connection between exercise and depression
- Exercise releases natural endorphins in the brain that can be potent mood elevators.
- Exercise improves overall health, lowering the physical stress on the body as well as the mental and emotional stress of becoming sick or worn-out.
- Sticking with an exercise program can grow your self-confidence. As you work out every day, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment, and over time, you can celebrate your improvements.
- You can use exercise as a chance to develop a rewarding new hobby like gardening, or a way to get out and meet others through a class or team activity. Having something joyful to focus on and improving your social network can be a powerful source of healing.
You don't have to spend your life in a gym to manage exercise and depression, and you don't have to start with a huge exercise routine. Make a resolution to walk around the block once a day, and soon you'll find yourself taking longer walks or even hikes. Then you can come home and treat yourself to a spa treat made just for you – you've earned it!