Research has found that people who are more physically active have huge feelings of excitement and enthusiasm than those that are less active. And beyond the protective effect against feeling depressed, exercise also has some other benefits which include reducing stress and help you sleep better. This is why your favourite fitness program can be a great addition to your depression treatment plan.
During depression, there is a low level of some chemicals in the brain and when exercising encourages the release of many chemicals.
Below are some great exercises which have been found to be helpful in alleviating the symptoms of depression.
Set off that Runner's High
Have you ever heard of 'runner’s high'? "The most concrete example of exercise that stimulate certain brain chemicals is the 'runner’s high' which has been reported by a lot of athletes which they experience when they cross a certain threshold of exertion while running", says Muzina. This excitement is sequel to the release of endorphins in the brain in response to sustained physical activity.
The natural morphine hormone in the body is Endorphins and are released by specific glands in the brain, capable of creating a sense of well-being or joy and reduce the pain level.
Build your Muscles
When you increase strength this also increases your happiness. According to a study carried out on 45 survivors of stroke with depression, it was discovered that 10-week muscular exercise training reduces the symptoms of depression (among many other benefits).
Become a Yogi
Yoga is one of those exercises with numerous health benefits. Based on a study carried out on 65 women with depression and anxiety; 34 of them attended a yoga course twice a week for two months and they showed a significant reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety compared with 31 other women that do not attend a yoga class.
'An Eastern tradition such as yoga has a huge antidepressant effect in that it enhances flexibility, involves an awareness that disperses repetitive negative thoughts, increases strength, informs you about breathing, improves balance and contains a meditative element,' says Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal.
Try Tai Chi
Like yoga, slow, gentle movements of tai chi is another tradition that has been found to be helpful in eliminating depression and or depressive disorder.
In a study of 14 elderly Chinese patients with depression, those who took tai chi for three months showed a significant improvement in their depressive symptoms. The researchers have theorized that the social aspects of tai chi, which are done in groups, also play a role in its effectiveness.
Go for a Walk
It can be hard to feel better by placing one leg in front of the other - this is because walking is an aerobic exercise that almost everyone fits. All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes and support and you're ready to go.
Practically, it is suggested that doing something is better than not doing anything when it comes to physical activity, says Muzina. In the event that your depression has rendered you inactive, begin slowly and gradually increase time and distance.
Go Outdoors and Play
If you like being out there, even simple activities like gardening, throwing balls with kids or washing your car can help. This is because a lot of sunlight stimulates the mood due to sun rays encouraging our levels of serotonin (however note: the reduction in serotonin in the darkest, coldest months is associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD).