While diet is a key to helping with depression, exercise and depression go hand in hand. Exercise is especially important when you are depressed. Doctors prescribe it for a recipe to a healthy life.
For a depressed person here are some of the main benefits:
- releases brain chemicals, like endorphins that reduce pain preceptors and relax the body
- reduces the level of chemicals that make you feel depressed
- increases oxygen to the body and brain
- warms the body
- builds esteem and confidence
- distracts you from your worries
- provides an avenue to interact with other people
- improves your immune system which helps you react and remain healthy
The result of all this is less stress, better sleep, increased energy, lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol and an overall sense of well being. Even simple breathing exercises or 10 minutes of meditation will bring oxygen to the brain and lower your anxiety levels, clearing your mind of many worries.
While you may not feel like moving or doing anything when you are tired or depressed, just a short walk will help you interact with nature and your body. That exposure to some simple pleasures will give you a feeling of worth.
Even a short one.
Start small and work your way up to a half hour walk every day. If you simultaneously do a number treatments you will shorten the length and strength of the depression and find a quicker route to relief.
I have noticed the level of my recovery is amplified when I add exercise and light therapy to a strong diet. In the next article I’ll take a look at light therapy, especially useful for the winter blues, also referred to as seasonal affective disorder or sad.