A growing body of research shows that exercise is extremely effective in combating depression. And it’s effective no matter who you are or how you exercise. Research results reveal that: 1) almost all types of exercise are equally effective and 2) exercise fights depression in all life stages — from childhood, to pregnancy, to old age.
Dr. Smith is concerned about the upswing in the use of medication for depression — drugs that have potentially dangerous side effects — and is, therefore, eager to share the latest research on exercise and depression with patients.
Evidence suggests that exercise improves depression symptoms because it:
- Positively affects the levels of certain mood-enhancing neurotransmitters in the brain.
- Boosts feel-good endorphins.
- Improves sleep.
- Reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Increases body temperature.
- Instills a sense of mastery and control in life.
- Bolsters self-esteem.
- Provides a distraction from worries.
- Rids built-up stress and frustration.
When suffering from depression, getting up and exercising can seem like an impossible task. But it’s not impossible, and even a small amount of exercise can make a huge difference.