Being depressed is no fun. Other than making you feel down, it’s also something that can cause the likes of lack of energy, insomnia or oversleeping, significant changes in appetite and weight, irritability, reckless behavior, problems with concentrating, and unexplained body aches and pains.
At the first sign of depression, it’s a good idea for you to spring into action — waiting for things to spiral out of control can make it harder to combat depression. Fortunately, there are numerous all-natural remedies for depression and the various issues that it takes with it. One of the best solutions for the problem is exercise.
While it’s true that busting a sweat won’t zap depression completely, it is scientifically-proven to help lift the mood. That’s because exercising promotes better flow of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the brain as well as boosts the production of endorphins, which are your happy hormones.
Exercising helps keep your mind busy, taking it away from your problems and worries. It also helps ward off stress and promote a good night’s sleep, which can be very elusive if you are depressed. Especially if you exercise with your family, friends and other like-minded people, it can be very easy to keep depression out of your life.
To reap the wonderful effects of exercising on the mood, experts suggest for you to exercise for 3-5 times a week, each session lasting for at least half an hour. You may even notice some positive changes right after exercising. The following are some exercises that are very good at making you feel a lot better:
While you may run on a treadmill at home or at the gym, the best way to combat depression is by running outdoors. Nothing can beat the blues much better than by getting mood-lifting sun and fresh air as you flood your brain with happy hormones. If you keep pushing, you might even experience what’s called runner’s high, a euphoric feeling that kicks in once a runner goes past what seems to be the limit of his or her capabilities.
Fret not if you are not really fond of running. That’s because even something as simple as walking is said to be very good at alleviating the various symptoms of depression. What’s so great about walking is it’s suited for everybody — it’s perfect for you regardless of your age, gender and current fitness level. Pair walking with listening to upbeat or fun songs and you will surely be able to walk away from feeling down in the dumps.
A study involving stroke survivors found out that building muscles helped in managing depression. Experts say it may be due to the fact that weight training is a form of exercise that requires precision, and thus it can take up 100% of your attention. With your mind focused on completing your reps and sets correctly, your fears take a backseat. Seeing dramatic changes in your body structure can also make you feel really good about yourself.
We all know that yoga is very good at combating stress. Did you know that it’s also an excellent fighter of depression? According to a study of women suffering from depression and anxiety, a couple of yoga classes a week for 2 months helped considerably decreased the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Thanks to the meditative factor of yoga, this form of exercise can help you get rid of negative thoughts that fuel depression.
If yoga is not your thing, fret not. There is another meditative form of exercise that is said to be effective in combating the symptoms of depression. It’s called tai chi, an ancient Chinese self-defense and calisthenics. Consisting of slow and fluid movements, tai chi lets you leave your problems behind. It is also done in group settings, and this fact helps boost the depression-combating benefits of tai chi.
When you’re feeling down, it is definitely a good idea to surround yourself with people. You can combine the depression-fighting effects of socializing and exercising by engaging in group sports. Nothing can be more fun than playing badminton, volleyball, frisbee or table tennis with your family and friends. Opt for those that are played outdoors to make sure that you are getting enough sun, which also helps lift the mood.