Depression is a universal problem affecting millions. Despite the availability of effective treatments, the majority who suffer depression do not seek help. Though there are endless causes of this debilitating condition, there is a common aid to bring relief—exercise.
Over the past decades, hundreds of studies have focused on the effects of exercise on depression. There is overwhelming consensus that exercise is an effective antidote to depression. Walking, biking, resistance training, swimming, etc., can do much more than condition muscles and improve cardiovascular endurance. They are powerful tools to treat even major depression.
Recent studies continue to underscore past findings. In Duke University studies, exercisers on no medications improved as much as those on medications. Long-term exercisers demonstrated more improvement than those on antidepressant medication, and the lowest rate of relapse. Studies done at Harvard and Northeastern University, and in Sweden and Australia all echo positive rewards of exercise in treating depression.
Many bonuses come with exercise, such as increased self-esteem, self-confidence, and satisfaction of achieving goals. Exercise has the opposite effect of depression. It improves mood, reduces anxiety and creates a balanced feeling of well being. The ability to handle stress is increased, along with improved sleep patterns.
So go ahead, throw yourself into something you enjoy at a doable intensity. From personal testimony, I affirm, the rewards of health dividends are marvelous.
American Council on Exercise
Sutter-Delta Medical Center, Your Health Article