10 Ways Being Active Can Help with Depression from Ways Being Active Can Help with Depression
Ways Being Active Can Help with Depression
10 Ways Being Active Can Help with Depression
Researchers have been studying exercise and depression for decades and the results indicate exercise can be a great tool for dealing with symptoms and potentially feeling better long-term. Exercise doesn’t carry the same stigma as counseling or anti-depressants and working out can be free, whereas medication and doctors visits can cost hundreds. Exercise also helps people feel better right away—no other treatment options can claim such quick results.
Read on to find out the 10 ways being active can help with depression.
Exercise Releases Endorphins
Endorphins, known for relieving pain and promoting positive feelings, are chemicals naturally produced in the brain during exercise. These chemicals are responsible for the feeling of euphoria after exercise, commonly described as the “runner’s high.” While anti-depressants usually take days or weeks to start helping with depression symptoms, endorphins could help relieve symptoms in minutes.
Increased Serotonin Levels
Serotonin is another naturally occurring chemical that regulates mood, appetite and the sleep cycle. Low levels of serotonin are tied to depression and though many chemicals influence mood, serotonin is one of the most significant. Exercise has been shown to increase levels of serotonin in the brain—improving mood, restoring appetite and promoting more restful sleep.
Exercise Helps Us Deal with Stress
A study from the University of Georgia determined that over the course of a few weeks, regular exercise can increase the level of galanin in the brain. Galanin is a peptide neurotransmitter that seems to help the body better handle stress. The stress tests were done on lab rats, but researchers think the results are likely to carry over for humans dealing with daily stresses, as well.
Exercise with Others May Provide Social Support
It’s been said that working out with friends will keep you invested and accountable to your fitness goals, but workout buddies bring other benefits, too. Exercising with friends can help foster feelings of connectedness and dispel feelings of loneliness, which is a common problem for depressed people.