Exercising to help fight depression
I’m lucky to work with a wide range of clients, and a number of them have told me they suffer from depression or anxiety. Often, their reason for initially approaching me is to help break the cycle of managing their condition with pills, and regain control of their mental wellbeing through exercise. Here’s just a few of the reasons why exercise can be an effective strategy to deal with certain mental health issues.
✔ When we exercise our bodies release chemicals called endorphins. These feel good hormones trigger a positive feeling in the body. Completing a workout and achieving your goals has a positive mental effect, giving you more good feelings.
✔ You can improve your mental strength by improving your physical strength. Pushing through a tough workout can help build character and really give you the belief that you’re an awesome human being, which you obviously are!
✔ As you see improvements in your body it will again boost your self confidence, and your positivity.
✔ You’ll be surprised with how many other people in the gym might also feel how you do. Building relationships with these people means you overcome your issues together. Try finding a gym partner to work out with.
✔ You’re also more likely to eat better, and science is now showing us the link between digestive health, nutrition and brain health is huge. Eating a better diet can have amazing results in overcoming stress and anxiety, when your body eats less foods that stress your gut and digestion.
✔ Finally, in October 2000, researchers at Duke University studied people suffering from depression for 4 months. They concludedcthat 60% of the participants who weight trained for 40 minutes 4 times a week overcame their depression without using antidepressant medication (sertraline). This is the same percentage rate as for those who only used medication in their treatment for depression.
Link to study here: https://today.duke.edu/2000/09/exercise922.html
I’m in no way suggesting that going to the gym for a few hours a week is the magic bullet in curing all depression, but there’s enough evidence out there to at least make it worth considering if you’re currently struggling. If you’d like to chat to me about this any more, feel free to get in touch. Anything we discuss of this nature will of course be in the strictest of confidence.