My Experiences with Exercise and Depression
There is a good chance that you know someone that has or had depression or you may have even suffered with it yourself. Depression is a terrible illness that affects one in 5 women and one in 8 men. The illness still has a terrible stigma which magnifies the impact even more so. I have been very close with the illness as I love many people that have suffered with it at some stage.
The most encouraging part of my work is seeing people conquer this illness with the assistance of exercise. I by no means believe that exercise is the saviour here. The illness requires a comprehensive approach for success but exercise certainly plays a part.
One of the big challenges for people suffering depression is that they don’t feel like exercising. Depressed people only exercise half as much as people who aren’t depressed. It is a vicious cycle as a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of depression and depression increases the likelihood of a sedentary lifestyle.
The toughest part is that first step. It can seem like a monumental mountain to conquer and unbearable at first. My encouragement is to take that first step because you will undoubtedly feel a lot better for the experience. You will be making a great step in boosting your self-esteem and you will be improving your body’s chemical profile. Exercise not only burns up stress chemicals like adrenalin but it also boosts serotonin, the happy hormone.
Encouraging someone you know with depression to exercise and assisting them is a kind and loving action. However, you must also be patient and sympathetic as there will be times when exercise might just feel too much and totally overwhelming.
The type and amount of exercise is secondary. The most important thing is movement and taking steps to recovery. Choosing activities based on enjoyment is far more important.