Various studies in the last few decades have shown exercise to be addition to or substitute for antidepressant medications, according to Harvard Medical SchoolOff Site Icon.
One of the studies indicated that aerobic activities – such as brisk walking for 35 minutes a day, five days a week, or an hour a day three times a week – made a marked difference on mild to moderate depression symptoms, according to the school. People who walked fast for only 15 minutes five days a week or did stretching exercises three times a week did not feel the same positive effects on their depression symptoms.
Overall the studies have shown that frequently doing aerobic exercise seemed to be more effective than more mild activities, such as stretching, when working to fight depressions.
Exercise is a planned, structured and repetitive body movement done to improve or maintain physical fitness.
The word “exercise” may make you think of running laps around the gym. But exercise includes a wide range of activities that boost your activity level to help you feel better.
Certainly running, lifting weights, playing basketball and other fitness activities that get your heart pumping can help. But so can physical activity such as gardening, washing your car, walking around the block or engaging in other less intense activities. Any physical activity that gets you off the couch and moving can help improve your mood.
You don’t have to do all your exercise or other physical activity at once. Broaden how you think of exercise and find ways to add small amounts of physical activity throughout your day. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park a little farther away from work to fit in a short walk. Or, if you live close to your job, consider biking to work.
It appears that any form of exercise can help depression. Some examples of moderate exercise include:
Golf (walking instead of using the cart)
Housework, especially sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming
Jogging at a moderate pace
Yard work, especially mowing or raking