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Depression is a dreaded disorder. And when you are in the grips of it, exercise might be the last thing on your mind. But the virtues of exercise as an anti-depressant have been extolled by psychological health experts for years. If you can steer yourself into creating a workout schedule for yourself and adhere to it, you will see a marked improvement in your psychological health. Read on to know more.
Exercise as an anti-depressant: what is the link?
Exercise improves your health in multiple ways. It keeps you fit, prevents loss of bone density, doesn’t allow your blood pressure to spike, stabilises blood sugar level, and helps get rid of the bad cholesterol. But that’s not all that exercise does for your body. It has an equally powerful impact on your psyche. Exercise has been proven to lift the pall of gloom and despair that people diagnosed with depression feel.
Psychologists believe exercise as anti-depressant works because-
1. Exercise generates endorphins
When you workout, your body produces copious amounts of the hormone endorphin which is also called the happiness hormone. As it courses through your veins and reaches all corners of your body, you immediately feel the difference. Your worries dissipate and it feels like you are more capable of handling life’s lemons.
2. It keeps you distracted
For the duration you are working out, your mind will be on exercise alone. This gives you a time-out from your worries. That little respite goes a long way in boosting your mental health.
3. It helps you collect your thoughts
Workout improves your focus and helps your mind become organized and sorted. This will help you sift through your problems, analyze the situation better, plan solutions, and generate a can-do attitude towards life.
4. Gives you a sense of accomplishment
Exercise is a series of challenges. You build your strength and endurance to master every one of them. As you strike each challenge off your to-do list, you bask in the success. This feeling of having accomplished your goal fosters positivity, confidence, and love for yourself- powerful tools when it comes to banishing the blues.
5. Helps you socialise
Maybe not right at the start, but slowly you will start to mingle with the people who are working out with you, be it in a gym or in a jogging park. Socialising with like-minded people eases your worries, and helps you get a grip on your depression.
6. Teaches you to fight in a healthy way
Not all people who are in the clutches of depression deal with it in a wholesome way. Some take to drinking and drugs for an easy escape, while others simply try to wish away the bouts of despondency, all of which make the symptoms return with greater potency.
Exercise induces a person to fight back against depression in a way that is healthy as well as effective.
What type of exercise helps cope with depression?
Actually, an exercise in the context of exercise as an anti-depressant does not mean rigorous physical activity alone. Anything that gets your heart pumping, and yet something that you enjoy doing will help. It could be some extensive gardening, something as repetitive as washing your car, taking your dog out for a walk, etc.
How long should you work out?
30 minutes of activity, 3-4 times a week should suffice to experience the benefits of exercise as an anti-depressant. Don’t overdo it, or you could end up hurting your muscles or tissues.
Exercise as an anti-depressant is not just a tall story. People have benefited from it. Kill depression, the healthy way.