Ever heard of endorphins — those natural mood-lifters that get released when you work out? If you’re one of many Americans with major depressive disorder (7 percent of the U.S. adult people, according to the National Institute of Mental Health), listen up: Studies indicate that endorphin-fostering exercises may just be as successful in treating depression as antidepressant drugs.
How? Researchers have found that exercise can help raise your self-esteem and redirect focus from your issues which may be causing your depression.
But can people who have major depression gain from any type of routine physical activity? Probably, says James A. Blumenthal, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Duke University in Durham, N.C. Yet, he adds, “Most of the scientific evidence supporting the use of exercise as a treatment for leading
Melancholy comes from aerobic exercise,” he says, and “there also has been at least one study that’s shown strength training to be beneficial.”
Aerobics for MDD
Aerobic means oxygen-dependent, and aerobic exercises are
The ones that raise your body’s importance of oxygen. During aerobic exercises, such
As walking, swimming, and bicycling, you’re moving big muscles in your arms,
legs, and hips. As a result, you breathe more deeply and your heart beats
faster. More oxygen flows to your muscles and back to your lungs.
Kevin Bailey, creator of Bailey’s Total Fitness in Athens, Ga., recommends that patients
Pick an aerobic activity they can do for a minimum of thirty minutes at a time,
plus a 10-minute warmup and a 5-minute cool down. “This will supply you with the
maximum benefits,” he says. A total of
45 minutes of exercise at least three times a week is excellent — and
Five times is even better.
The simplest aerobic exercise
is brisk walking. “If you have knee or musculoskeletal issues,” Bailey says,
“you may want to ride a bike, [either] outside or at the gym.” Swimming is
Additionally great aerobic exercise for individuals who are concerned about deterioration on
their knees, he includes.
Training for MDD
Like aerobic exercise, Bailey
says, strength training can get blood to flow throughout muscle tissue and help you
To not feel weaker. Focus on light weights (1, 3, or 5 pounds) and two sets of
20 repetitions of every exercise. Weight-bearing exercises can enhance your
Disposition, Bailey says, “because strengthening your heart provides you an overall awareness
of strength.” Great core strength-training exercises include yoga or Pilates board plank,
With movements that reinforce arms and abs. As with aerobic exercise, your
Aim needs to be to perform strength-training exercises two to three times a week
and from 30 to 45 minutes every time.
Exercise classes are also a
Good choice for those who are battling with depression and depression, says Bailey. Courses give people a sense of belonging.
“You really get to learn each other and form relationships,
and relationships are beneficial to individuals [living with] depression,” he
Yet another mood-lifting
Benefit of exercising, Bailey says, is the fact that you’re more likely to sleep better at
Sleeping, and nighttime raises your energy levels. “For individuals with
depression, exhaustion and loss of energy are problems,” he says.
For Your Doctor
Exercise may be a very powerful treatment for
major depressive disorder. But before you start an exercise program, get the
Acceptable from your doctor, Bailey says. You may need to start slowly and build up
your strength, particularly if you haven’t exercised in a while.