Women’s Fitness: Beat Depression by Exercising the Blues Away Fit Training Blog for Women 40, 50 and
Do you know about the connection between exercise and depression?
Research continues to show many forms of exercise are as effective as taking antidepressants to relieve mild to moderate depression.
In fact, exercise is also effective for treating severe depression when combined with medication.
A recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that daily stints on the treadmill, for ten straight days, lessened depression in over half the participants. These participants had all suffered from depression for at least nine months or more.
Results for exercise and depression were very positive. Researchers point out that aerobic exercise has the same effect as antidepressants; it stimulates neurotransmitters in the brain which produce serotonin, an endorphin that enhances mood. In addition, exercise generally does not have any side effects, unlike drugs which can be riddled with undesirable repercussions.
Another huge benefit is that exercise often works faster than antidepressants. The endorphin effect can be felt immediately after exercise, as opposed to waiting two to three weeks for medication to kick in. Given all this evidence, workouts for women make a lot of sense for those who have a tendency towards depression.
The problem is, when people are experiencing a depressive episode, working out is usually the last thing they want to do. So how can you help yourself, or someone you know who is depressed, get started with exercise?
Simple Women’s Fitness Tips to Beat the Blues:
Set small goals such as walking for five minutes. You may find you want to go longer once you get started. If not, stop after five minutes and set a bigger goal for the next day.
Be gentle with yourself. Do what makes you feel good. Engage in positive self-talk and treat yourself with respect.
Start with exercise that you enjoy. Even if you don’t feel like it now, once you get started the enjoyment may come back which can help with your mood.
Exercise with a friend or hire a trainer who can make it more fun for you.
Go outside to exercise (and, remember to wear your sunscreen). Sunlight is a natural mood enhancer.
As always, consult your doctor first, especially if you suspect that you are depressed and have not sought medical advice. Medication and/or other treatments may be necessary. Since the connection between exercise and depression is undeniable, you can take heart knowing that working out is a simple, healthy tool to help yourself through difficult times. And that’s another solid reason why exercise and women’s fitness should stay on your radar.