Ever felt depressed? No energy, everything is too much, life sucks. There are a zillion reasons why we get depressed, but regardless, depression is draining. Exhausting. It makdes everything seem daunting. And as crazy as that sounds, exercise helps with that. Yep!
Exercise generates energy.
Exercise releases endorphins, the “happy hormones.”
Depressed people get into a vicious cycle by feeling stressed and overeating and then not exercising, which makes them feel even more depressed. We do that because we self-medicate with foods–the kinds that release hormones that make you feel good, but they also pack on the pounds. If depressed people being to move and exercise, all kinds of different sysemts of the body start waking up, from metabolism to cardiovascular activation, and all kinds of endocrine changes happen in the brain. Psychologically, moderate exercise (short, brisk walks five to ten minutes) increases energy and reduces tension. More intense exercise (like an hour of aerobic stuff) will reduce tension but actually energy as well at first; after workout recovery, there is an energy resurgence.
The problem is, though, that when we are depressed, we certainly don’t feel like exercising, right? So the best thing might be to start out very minimally–like getting up and just walking up and down the street once. As we begin to move, we start feeling better and are able to do more.
Actually, in my opinion, exercise is a great prescription for depression.