Depression is real and no joke! Most of us have suffered from some forms of it in the past, present, and also currently. There has been, and still are, many ways to help combat this condition. Some people get it treated with medicine (seeing a doctor MD); talking with a therapist (PhD), and/or some changes in their lifestyle.
Luckily for all those who are reading, I am neither an MD nor PhD (but I can wrap an ankle sprain faster than you can say "PETE!"). My expertise lies in the field of health and fitness. As a Certified Personal Trainer, I have seen the effects exercise has with those who have been diagnosed with depression. Now, does exercise fix depression for someone completely? Probably not, but it can help along with other tools advised by medical and clinical professionals.
In this blog I will list different exercises that have been known to help with depression, but first let's identify how exercise affects the body. Biologically, exercising protects against heart disease and diabetes. It improves sleep and helps lower blood pressure. High-intensity exercise helps release a "feel good" chemical called endorphins. Low-intensity exercise release proteins called neurotrophics or growth factors. These neurotrophics cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections. This improvement in brain function make people "feel better." Neuroscientist have noticed that the hippocampus in the brain (the region that helps regulate mood) becomes smaller. Dr. Michael Craig Miller, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School stated that, "Exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, improving nerve cell connections, which helps relieve depression."
1. Running/Jogging- As stated earlier, running or high-intensity exercise helps release endorphins. This is that "runner's high" people talk about.
2. Weight lifting/resistance training- A recent study of 45 stroke survivors with depression found that a 10 week strength training program helped reduce symptoms of depression.
3. Yoga-In a study of 65 women with depression and high anxiety the 34 women who took yoga twice a week for 2 months showed a significant decrease in depression and anxiety symptoms compared to the 33 women who didn't participate in the yoga class
4. Tai Chi-A study of 14 older patients with depression showed that when participating in Tai Chi for 3 months, showed a significant decrease in depression symptoms. Those individuals also did the class in a group setting which could also have helped due to the social aspect of it.
I gave you a few ways exercise helps curb depression or depression symptoms. Of course this is not a remedy, but can help in some way. Again, talk to a medical professional if you're feeling any depression related symptoms; get on a medically approved plan and start moving!!