Exercise and depression
Want to learn more about exercise and depression? Many studies indicate that people who exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression.
What are the psychological benefits of exercise with depression?
Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.
Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energising outlook on life.
Endorphins act as analgesics, which mean they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines. However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body’s endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.
Regular exercise has been proven to help:
Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression
Exercise also has these added health benefits:
It strengthens your heart
It increases energy levels
It lowers blood pressure
It improves muscle tone and strength
It strengthens and builds bones
It helps reduce body fat
It makes you look fit and healthy
Is exercise a treatment for clinical depression?
Research has shown that exercise is an effective but often underused treatment for mild to moderate depression.
Do particular types of exercise help depression?
It appears that any form of exercise can help depression so try various types of exercise such as dance, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, aerobics, indoor cycle classes etc. to find a class that you really enjoy doing. Enjoying a class and having fun while doing it will not only lift your mood, it will make you want to return week after week, helping you to develop a healthy & regular exercise pattern.
Because strong social support is important for those with depression, joining a group exercise classes can be beneficial. Or you can exercise with a close friend or your partner. In doing so, you will benefit from the physical activity and emotional comfort, knowing that others are supportive of you.
If you suffer from depression, mildly or seriously and aren’t attending group exercise sessions at club zest at the moment, then check out our timetable of classes, have a read through the class descriptions or ask a member of staff for their advice and give a class a try – it could just be the thing that helps you through.