Is There a Link Between Physical Exercise and Helping Depression?

Is There a Link Between Physical Exercise and Helping Depression

The subject of mental health is one that has been given a great deal of attention in recent years. This is a welcome change to the manner in which the topic was approached in decades gone by where a combination of misunderstanding the effects of human emotion on the body and the desire to keep one’s personal struggles locked away resulted in many mental health conditions being misdiagnosed or ignored altogether. The current, more empathetic and scientific view of mental health has been far more beneficial to those suffering from mental health conditions.

This attitude towards mental health has also brought about some significant breakthroughs in research regarding various conditions. One such breakthrough is in reference to depression, a condition that millions of Americans suffer with every year.

It has been ascertained that there is a direct link between the symptoms of depression and physical exercise. While treatment options are more complex than simply going on a run to free yourself of depression, many people experience a decrease in the symptoms of depression when they incorporate regular exercise into their wellness routine.

Happy Hormones

The link between one’s physical condition and the state of their mental health cannot be denied. Although every case is different, you can generally help manage the symptoms of depression and anxiety by getting the right amount of sleep at night, eating right, and maintaining a healthy weight. However, exercise is so effective in helping to treat depression that you will even see it as part of the regimens prescribed at various teenage depression treatment centers.

When you exercise, your brain emits a series of hormones that together are referred to as the “happy hormones”. Endorphins, serotonin, and oxytocin are included within this category because when release they result in an immediate uptick in mood. Endorphins in particular can even bring certain levels of pain relief in some cases. You might have heard of the effects of these hormones being called a ‘runner’s high’.

Since these hormones are released when you exercise and their effects can last for significant periods of time, healthcare professionals recommend that those suffering from depression consider exercising more frequently.

How to Use Exercise to Treat Depression

If you are experiencing stress from a certain area of your life, a solid exercise routine can certainly help you to feel better. However, if you have symptoms or have been diagnosed with depression, you should consult your doctor to come up with a course of treatment that works for you. While an exercise routine might be a core part of that treatment, you should always take the advice from your healthcare provider as to how much and how often you need to exercise to achieve the desired results.

Generally speaking, if you aim to achieve 30 minutes or more of exercise three to five times a week, you can stand to see a significant decrease in your symptoms of depression. You will also enjoy a variety of other health benefits if you are able to maintain this level of exercise for a prolonged period of time.

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