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Can exercise help depression?

Depression can take many forms and vary in its intensity. It’s a complicated illness and requires specialist diagnosis and treatment. For severe depression, everything is black and it can be impossible to get up in the morning and there can be suicidal thoughts.

Manic depression is also known as bipolar disorder.

Other forms of depression might show themselves in a loss of interest in everything, low mood, low self-esteem, low energy, poor concentration, excessive tiredness, a need to avoid social occasions or depression from stress and worry. Really depressed people can find themselves unable to answer the phone.

There are many potential causes of depression. To a lesser or greater extent there will be an imbalance in the brain chemistry although the mechanics of this are not fully understood yet. Other causes can be genetic, environmental, upbringing, past events and even bacteria in the gut might have an effect.

Drug treatments are very much out of favour these days with talking therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy being safer and more effective in the long-term.

One thing which is agreed is that exercise can improve a person’s mood and help with depression. In extreme case, taking exercise can be impossible because of the effort involved, but for anyone who can make the effort, exercise will certainly improve their mood.

Boost the Brain and Burn Fat

An hour’s walking at a decent pace every day will actually increase the size of the hippocampus in the brain over time. If that is too much, do 15 minutes brisk walking every day, and do it on an empty stomach. That might sound strange but then the walk will draw on excess body fat for its energy rather than using the carbohydrates you have just eaten.

Knowing the benefits of exercise can be enough motivation to get someone to make the effort and get started.
Exercise will release stresses tied up in the body and there will be an overall increase in energy. You want to feel less tired and more motivated to get your daily tasks completed.
Endorphins will be released in the brain and this will improve a person’s mood, which is very important in combatting any form of depression.

Get support. When you have the idea to lose weight and become healthier, support from a family member or friend can make all the difference. The right sympathetic person can help with motivation and keeping you on track.
If you don’t know anyone who fits the bill, joining the local swimming group or badminton club might automatically come up with the solution, Many of the people there will have the same aims as yourself.