Doctors will regularly include exercise as part of their prescribed method of managing depression. While a fitness program may not eliminate depression, it does help create healthy coping strategies. Studies have found that those people who exercise on a regular basis receive a positive boost in how they feel physically and psychologically, which may help those who suffer from depression.
When you exercise, the body releases endorphins. These chemicals act as analgesics that react with the receptors in your brain that act as a sedative to relax your body, and reduce your perception of pain. These endorphins are made in many parts of your body, including the brain and spinal cord. The endorphins work a lot like pain medicines by binding to the same neuron receptors, however when these receptors are activated, they don't lead to addiction as with pain medicines such as morphine.
Additional benefits of exercise that relate to depression sufferers include lowered blood pressure, improved quality of sleep and increased energy levels
Psychologically, exercise has proven to have many positive effects on people. After exercising, people tend to feel a sense of accomplishment, which, in turn, leads to an increase in self-esteem. Other psychological benefits of exercise for those with symptoms of depression include opportunities for positive interactions with others, a distraction from unpleasant thoughts, and stress reduction.
Depression can make it difficult to get motivated to take a shower, go to work, or even go grocery shopping. Learning how to set realistic goals allows a person to still be able to experience the benefits of exercise. Many studies have found that adults who exercise at least 30 minutes per day, three to five times per week experience significant improvements in their depression symptoms. To get yourself motivated, however, even smaller amounts of exercise can help in the short term. Begin with a more easily attainable goal of 10-15 minutes per day. Do not make exercising become a burden that adds anxiety and stress to your life.
If you base your exercise program on exercises that you enjoy, you will increase your chances of being successful in reaching your goals. Many studies have shown that any sort of exercise appears to positively impact the symptoms of depression, so focus on what you like to do. Some examples of moderate to vigorous exercises are walking or jogging, swimming, riding a bike, dancing, working around the house, volleyball, tennis or basketball.
If your lifestyle is suited for working out around other people in a gym, look into your local facilities. Depending on your personal goals, local gyms offer a variety of classes including yoga, kickboxing, and "spinning" (stationary bikes).
If you are more likely to exercise in the comfort of your own home, then assess your goals and decide what type of program you will be doing. There are excellent video workout routines that people have found success in, such as Core Secrets for stability ball core training, and P90X as a great total body workout program utilizing a relatively new concept of muscle confusion to prevent muscles from hitting a plateau.
Whatever you decide, be sure to change what you do often to prevent boredom with your exercises.
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