If you’re recovering from depression, you may feel pretty tired. A trip to the gym could seem like the last thing you want to do. But exercise is good for your head, and research backs this up.
One study that involved 80 adults with mild to moderate major depression found that three sessions of heart-pumping activity each week for 12 weeks worked about as well as medication in fighting the symptoms of depression. The researchers also found that after 10 months, people who exercised were much less likely to relapse than people who took medicine. The results of another study showed that three to five weekly workouts that got the heart and lungs working harder cut mild to moderate symptoms of the mood disorder nearly in half.
Getting regular exercise is important for good physical and mental health. Exercise can help stimulate parts of your brain that aren’t as responsive when you’re feeling depressed. It also promotes the release of feel-good brain chemicals. It may also help distract you from your worries and improve your confidence.
It’s commonly known that exercise has great physical health benefits, but exercise also has many mental health benefits.
When a person exercises endorphins, are released in the brain. These chemicals act as natural painkillers, relieve stress and improve sleep, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of AmericaOff Site Icon (ADAA).
Exercise can help maintain mental fitness by reducing stress and fatigue, making you more alert, and improving concentration, according to ADAA. It also can boost your self-esteem.
Many studies done by various organizations spanning back to the 1980s show that exercise plays a big enough roll in easing depression that in most cases it can be used hand-in-hand with or instead of antidepressant medications, according to Harvard Medical SchoolOff Site Icon.
For more information about how exercise can help with depression, talk with your doctor.