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July 3, 2017

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Can Exercise help fight depression?

Exercise has truly been my outlet!

When I was younger I struggled for many years with depression, bouts of sadness and unhappiness. When I found fitness at 37 years old it was the outlet I needed and no-one could keep me away from the gym. I still to this day look forward to working out and the amazing feeling that I experience after I completed my work

 

out. It makes me  wonder man why doesn’t everybody want to experience this feeling?? That feeling I speak of is the release of endorphins. "During exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins produce a positive feeling in the body” (2015, webmd.com) From that point on working out became my new love, my therapy session…I continued working out harder and more seriously sculpting my body better and better!

 

Working out and the results I received raised my confidence level and lowered the bouts of sadness I used to always seem to experience. Here I am now 5 years later,  I no longer have to hide in my closet and cry because no one understands, now go to the gym or kickboxing class for my therapy!

 

I have read that some people believe that exercise is almost as good as mild antidepressant medication! I don’t know you will have to be the judge of that yourself!! Now, please understand I am in NO way saying exercise is substitute for seeking professional help or that this was a overnight miracle, for me it was a gradual, progressive change that you can try too. Go to your local gym, sign up to take a class or a session with a personal trainer.

 

Any change you make in improving your health is a accomplishment, even just a little change is HUGE!  Applaud yourself you deserve it!!  

 

There are many amazing benefits to physical activity! Many people believe exercise can improve your state of mind. The following list from Precision Nutririon explores the many ways exercise can improve your mental state:

 

  • Curbing stress chemicals: A 2014 study demonstrated that PGC-1alpha — an enzyme produced in muscles during exerci

    se — has the ability to break down kynurenine, a substance that accumulates in the bloodstream after stress and has been linked to depression.

  • Supporting neurotransmitters:Exercise may boost the production of serotonin — a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and some cognitive function, and that may be low in depressed people. Physical activity may also stimulate neurogenesis, the growth of new neurons. That could improve cognition, and, in turn, your mental health.

  • Boosting endorphins: Exercise can give you a short-term burst of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that block pain and produce a natural “high.”

  • Reducing inflammation: Many types of exercise can lower inflammation, a potential cause of depression.

  • Decreasing stress: There’s a reason that some athletes refer to their time at the gym as “therapy.” Exercise can be a great antidote to stress, which research has linked to depression, perhaps owing to the body’s inflammatory stress response.

  • Encouraging happier thoughts and feelings: In 2009, one study explored depressed women’s use of long-distance running as a coping mechanism. Exercise can distract us from negative thoughts and feelings, while making us feel joyful and purposeful. It can also provide a sense of identity, which depression often steals from us.

 

References:

(2015) Webmd.com Exercise and Depression http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression

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