We all know the benefits of exercise for weight loss and physical health, but did you know exercise is also beneficial for mental health? Exercise not only battles the bulge, it also battles the blues. Exercise “addicts” will agree that they feel mentally/emotionally stronger, happier and have a clear head upon completing a workout. Scientific studies back this up by showing 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?
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 energizing outlook on life. You don’t have to run to experience this “runner’s high.” Just completing a challenging workout will give you the same feeling of euphoria. Not to get too scientifc, but endorphins act as analgesics, which means 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:
- Reduce stress
- Reduce feelings of anxiety and depression
- Boost self-esteem
- Improve slepp
Exercise also has these added health benefits:
- Strenthens your heart
- Increases energy level
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves muscle tone and strength
- Strengthens and builds bones
- Reduces body fat
- 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. Many professional trainers encourage clients to stick with their exercise routine to help fight feelings of sadness, anxiety and depression.
Are there Types of Exercises That Are Better for Depression?
It appears that any form of exercise can help depression. Some examples of moderate exercise include biking, dancing, gardening, golf (walking instead of using a cart), jogging, walking, low-impact aerobics and yoga. Doing housework such as vacuuming, mopping floors and washing your car are also great ways to get your exercise in while getting chores done at the same time.
Because strong social support is important for those with depression, joining a group exercise class may 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. Hiring a personal trainer is another great way to get the emotional and social support you need to look and feel great on the inside and out!
Lose weight and gain confidence with a personalizedprogram and the ongoing support of Step Ahead's expert team, including a physician, certified fitness trainer, and certified nutritionist. We now accept health insurance!
Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT
49 U.S. Highway 202
Far Hills, NJ 07931