On some level, all of us are aware that exercise is good for our body.

However, more often it is not just our body that needs help, but our mind craves it too. Sport and exercise can boost our mood and improve our sleep, but it’s not solely that is it?

We are here to learn how sport and exercise can help us deal with mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, and if you want to know how exercise has come to be one of the most effective treatments – read the text below.

Exercise for depression and benefits of it

It is a common “misconception” to think that people exercise regularly to maintain their looks, however, that is not the case.

Mostly, people who exercise the most, and who do it regularly, do it because it helps them feel better. They tend to have more energy throughout the day, they sleep better, have better memory and have an ability to think more clearly and positively during the day.

The thing with exercise is, no matter what your age is or how fit you are, it has more than a positive influence on your overall health, not to mention the impact it can have on mental health issues such as anxiety or depression.
Let us read into “the effect”
The exercise “effect” refers to a pile of health benefits emerging from exercising regularly. For instance, regular physical activity can help in releasing the endorphins, or the so called “happiness hormones”, that improve your mood and protect you from heart diseases, lower your blood pressure or improve your sleep cycle.

How does this even happen?

Sport or any kind of exercise triggers the release of proteins that are also known as growth factors that, in turn, cause the nerve cells to make entirely new connections. This is crucial to make you feel better, simply put.

The fact is – research has shown that people who are depressed have a smaller hippocampus, a region that is responsible for mood regulation. By exercising and triggering endorphins, you are actually influencing the growth of the hippocampus, which, in turn – helps relieve the symptoms of depression.

Can exercise help depression?

We basically managed to answer this question with all that is said above, however, let’s dig into the process a little bit more.

If you happen to be a person who suffers from some form of depression, or anxiety, you do know how hard it is to come back to sports, if you were once involved, or start exercising.

It feels like the hardest thing imaginable. However, once you start doing it, it becomes your safety net and one of the most effective ways to clear your mind, center yourself, and improve your mood.

In fact, exercising can be so effective it can keep anxiety and depression from coming back once you start feeling better.

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What are the other ways it can help?

Apart from having a part in endorphin release, and therefore, helping you improve your sense of well being, there are other factors that help in easing the symptoms of depression:
1. First of all – sport and exercise take your mind off things you worry constantly about, which means it can break the cycle, and stop you from spiraling into a negative thought pattern.
2. You get to socialize more. Physical activity can give you the chance to socialize with others, even just by jogging around your neighbourhood.
3. It will allow you to cope in a healthy manner. The coping mechanisms of most people usually involve alcohol, drugs, or contemplation, all of which can lead to worsening of the symptoms.
4. It will boost your self confidence. Exercise goals, even the ones that may seem the most insignificant will help you boost your self confidence, by making you feel better about your body too.

How to get motivated?

By now you are aware that exercise has a significant role in easing the symptoms of depression, but, motivation is usually what you lack to start exercising regularly, not to mention long term. Here are some pieces of advice that can boost your motivation and help you get started.
● Simplicity is key. In order to get more active, you need to start slowly and simply. Simplicity in being active is crucial to help motivate you to continue being active, and boost your self confidence about exercising. Even simple chores around the household, shopping or gardening are enough to propel you into a more active state of being.
● Plan out your routine. Make sure to include one type of exercise each day, and stick to it. This is how you programme yourself into being more active, but don’t try and stick to the plan obsessively. Have a breather and be flexible.
● Understand your barriers. Analyzing what is setting you back will help you find alternative solutions, if you happen to need any. For example, if you are feeling self conscious, start by exercising at home. If financials are the problem, start with something that won’t cost you a dime, such as regular walking.
● Plan out activities that bring you joy. As you are probably aware, people who have depression often lose interest in their hobbies and other things they used to find enjoyable. By once again including all the activities that made you relaxed and satisfied, you are putting your mind in a good place.
● Don’t withdraw from others. Socializing is part of recovery, so try and make sure to be more active by including your friends, family or your significant other into your activities.

Do you need exercise for depression? Speak with your doctor first.

If you are considering exercising or getting into some sort of sport in order to treat your symptoms, make sure to speak to your doctor first.

They are able to provide you some much needed insight into what kind of exercise you can do and how intense it can be, by taking any medication or therapy you take into consideration.

No matter if you happen to be pretty active and still battling depression or anxiety, or have no way to stay motivated, make sure to contact us and talk to some of our specialists – we are here to help you ease the symptoms that interfere with the quality of your way of life.

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