We’ve all heard consistent cardio and weight lifting can lead to weight loss, reduce the risk of health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease and can strengthen your muscles to achieve that ‘Arnold’ like body you’ve been dreaming of.
However, did you know exercise has been proven to improve mild to moderate depression?
Depression affects approximately 19 million adults each year and while there are prescription medicines to treat this common disease, many people look for treatments other than antidepressants.
One study divided 156 men and women with depression into three groups.
The first group took aerobics.
The second group was prescribed Zoloft.
The third group took both.
After 16 weeks, it was found approximately 60%-70% of the people in all three of the groups could no longer be classified as suffering from major depression.
After six months, researchers followed up the study with 133 of the original 156 men and women. They found those who continued with a regular exercise regimen were less likely to relapse into depression and the beneficial effects of exercising were discovered to have lasted longer than the effects of using antidepressants!
In 2005, a study concluded speed walking for approximately 35 minutes a day or 60 minutes a day three times a week, had a substantial influence on depression symptoms (Note: This particular study and workout time was calculated for those weighing around 150 pounds).
Working up a sweat can increase a chemical called norepinephrine, which moderates the brain’s response to stress. Exercising also releases endorphins that create feelings of euphoria and joy. These chemicals are known to directly improve your mood and improve your body’s immunity.
So why not try a 30-minute jog outside or gym session to boost your self-esteem and reduce some stress? If you can feel and look good while attaining good mental health, it sounds like a win-win in my book.