Overcome Your Depression with Exercise

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A new study has found that exercise may not only treat depression, but it may also prevent it.

People often think of exercise as running, spending hours at the gym or other types of rigorous activity. But simply exercising won’t help depression.

Learning what exercise is best for you, setting goals and having a fitness plan are just as important during depression treatment.

What Kind of Exercise Is Best?

Although running, lifting weights and playing sports are great examples of physical activity, they are not the only types and are certainly not for everyone. Exercise has been shown to improve your mood, so anything that gets you off of the couch can help.

  • Adding small amounts of physical activity throughout the day can contribute to a healthier, happier you. Little decisions such as choosing to take the stairs instead of an elevator on your way to work are simple ways for you to squeeze exercise into your day. You can also try to park a little farther away from work in order to walk, or if it's feasible, you can even bike to work.
  • Small amounts of activity can help. While 30 minutes of exercise a day for three to five days a week have been shown to significantly improve depression symptoms, you shouldn’t discredit what 10 to 15 minutes a day can do. Quick workouts or physical activity can help elevate your mood for the day.
  • Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. With exercising in general, it is easy to plateau. When you reach exercise goals, don’t just get comfortable – challenge yourself little by little to improve on those goals. For example, challenge yourself to cut down 15 seconds on your next run, or maybe even 30 seconds. Setting small, realistic goals can alleviate your depression by showing that you are capable of achieving goals, no matter how small they are.
  • Find what you enjoy doing. Don’t just exercise for the sake of doing it. Find out what type of physical activities you enjoy and what you think you are most likely to stick with. For some it can be calming and relaxing yoga; for others it can be an adrenaline-pumping game of basketball. Doing what you enjoy can help you not think of exercise as a chore.
  • Prepare for setbacks and obstacles. Give yourself credit for every step in the right direction, but also realize that some days you will have a setback. If you skip exercise one day, it doesn’t mean you are incapable of maintaining exercise for life. Every day is a new day, and you must simply try again.

Source: Mayo Clinic

 
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