Exercise to Fight Depression

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You know that exercise can help you get fit, improve cardiovascular health, strength, flexibility and help you lose weight. Did you know that exercise can also improve your self-esteem and improve your mood? Physical exertion causes your brain to release endorphins, which reduce the effectiveness of pain receptors in the brain. The result is a feeling of well-being. You feel physically energized and emotionally well when your brain releases this chemical. The feeling has been called “runner’s high” because of a euphoric feeling. The effects of regular exercise are stress reduction, less anxiety, improved self-esteem, more restful sleep and fewer feelings of depression. 
Any physical activity that you enjoy doing can  help ward off feelings of depression and improve your mood. You don’t have to run miles or lift weights at the gym to enjoy the benefits of regular exercise. Riding a bicycle, dancing, walking, playing golf and tennis, basketball, softball, even gardening, yard work and house work is exercise. Low-impact aerobic exercises like swimming, bicycling and walking will get your heart pumping, your muscles working and your brain busy making endorphins. Do what you like to do and involve a friend or group of friends and family. Make exercise a regular part of your family activities. Aim for about 30 minutes of moderate exercise every other day. Gradually increase the time you spend exercising or exercise more frequently. If you are having trouble getting started or motivated to exercise, a personal fitness trainer can help. Make exercise part of your regular daily routine for a healthy mind and a positive attitude.

Do not ignore depression. Sometimes even exercise and healthy diet cannot alleviate feelings of depression. Moderate to severe depression may require immediate medical intervention. If you or a loved one could be suffering from depression, seek  help.

For more information about depression and depression help resources, see:

WebMD, Depression: Support and Resources