Depression is an affliction millions suffer from on a daily basis. Doing anything, let alone exercising, when you are feeling depressed is no easy task, especially when some days it might be hard to just get out of bed. However, many studies show that exercising can help combat depression and bring physical and psychological benefits. You just need a good amount of motivation to help you get started.
It is widely known that both the physical and psychological benefits of exercise can improve your mood, decrease anxiety, and contribute to your overall happiness and feelings of contentment.
Scientifically speaking, there are many ways in which exercise can help fight depression. Whenever you work out, your brain releases neurotransmitters called endorphins that help ease depression by blocking the pain receptors and increasing your perception of pleasure and satisfaction. Exercise can also increase your body temperature, fostering a calming effect.
In terms of the psychological benefits, a total body workout is a perfect distraction if you are anxious or have something on your mind, rather than clinical depression. Exercise can help you cope with your problems in a healthy way rather than dwelling on negative issues. Setting exercise goals and achieving them can also help you gain self-confidence. If you go to the gym to exercise, interacting with other people can lighten your spirits too. Even just jogging around your neighborhood and greeting the people you meet might boost your socialization skills, thus keeping your mind off your anxiety.
Exercising when you are battling depression or anxiety is easier said than done but there are strategies you can adopt to get on the right track:
1. Set small, manageable goals
It is hard enough to get yourself to move if you’re depressed, so how much more difficult would it trying to exercise? Spending an hour on the treadmill or carrying weights can seem far too much of an effort and for someone already feeling under par,way too difficult to attempt. A good starting goal might be to exercise for just five minutes. This is a really short time, but it can make a big difference in getting you up and moving. After a week, up the time to ten minutes of exercise, and so on.
2. Think of the things you enjoy doing
If you have a hobby, such as gardening or cycling, then these are great ways to jumpstart your workout routine. Stick with the things you enjoy, whether it be playing with your children or just jogging and sightseeing around the neighborhood. Don’t try to do things that make you feel uncomfortable or are overly stimulating and challenging, Doing what you love will motivate you to keep moving every day.
3. Exercise with a friend
Sometimes, when you feel really down, it is comforting to be able to communicate and connect with someone else. Getting involved in a fitness environment that is supportive can really help, or you can ask a friend to meet you for a walk so that you are exercising as well. You can take a walk with a pet dog too, as just having their presence around you can uplift your spirits.
With simple goals and the help of a friend, exercise no longer feels like a chore that you just need to get over with. Motivation is the key to achieving a valuable workout that can combat feelings of negativity.