To Your Health
October, 2014 (Vol. 08, Issue 10)
Beat the Blues With Exercise
By Editorial Staff
Depression is a serious health issue, whether we're talking clinical depression (major depressive disorder), mild depression, seasonal affective disorder (or appropriately, "SAD
" – depressive symptoms that often occur during the fall / winter months) or just "feeling blue." Fortunately, there's a simple, natural solution to help deal with depression: exercise.
When you're depressed, exercise is probably last on your list of priorities; curling up on the couch may seem infinitely more appealing than heading off to the gym for a vigorous workout. Yet an abundance of research suggests exercise is an ideal natural remedy when you feel depressed – and science backs it up.
According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some of the reasons why exercise may be an effective way to combat depression:
Releases "feel-good" brain chemicals (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids)
- Reduces immune-system chemicals that have been implicated in depression
- Increases body temperature, which may provide a sense of calm, reducing anxiety
- Helps you deal with your depression in a healthy, productive way
- Boosts self-confidence, which can make you feel better about yourself
- May provide for more social interaction, improving your mood
If you're feeling depressed, take it seriously. Talk to your doctor about how you're feeling. But before they prescribe an anti-depressant, which is the common medical strategy whenever someone says they're depressed these days, ask them about natural treatment alternatives, including exercise.