Exercise is a very potent antidepressant. Studies show that it's just as effective in battling mild to moderate depression as medication, without the bad side-effects! Watch this Tankeboksen Psychotherapy video that explains how it works
Script & Storyboard
People with depression often feel constantly tired and exhausted. Even though they used to be very active, many stop exercising altogether when experiencing depression. It is important to remember that inactivity feeds your tiredness and together they start a spiral that is hard to break. During longer periods of inactivity your body craves more and more rest, but what it really needs is to get moving.
The high stress levels caused by depression and anxiety, wears and tears on your brain and body, and exercise helps to reverse a lot of these effects. For example, the stress hormone, cortisol automatically drops as a result of exercise, providing the necessary stress relief to activate your immune system and recover from the effects of depression fuelled stress.
Humans used to be foragers that walked for miles to collect food. Today people demand more from their minds but less from their bodies, which creates an unhealthy imbalance. Exercise restores this balance by allowing our minds to rest and our bodies to release tension creating an almost endless range of positive side-effects including improved mood, concentration and learning.
Exercise leads to increased availability of the same Serotonin, Dopamine and Norephedrine neurotransmitters used in medication prescribed to battle depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorders such as ADHD. But in contrast to many of these medications, exercise only has positive side-effects.
Actually, exercise is repeatedly found to be as effective as antidepressants to battle mild to moderate depression. In follow-up studies the long-term effects of exercise exceeded those of antidepressants and a study by the university of Wisconsin even showed exercise alone to be as effective as psychotherapy.
School programs have had great success in helping kids with learning and attention difficulties perform better at school, through programs that increase their physical activity throughout the day. For many children exercise has had a better effect than the often prescribed Ritalin, which is a dopamine stimulant.
It is very important that you get started with exercise, even though it might be the last thing you feel like doing right now. The first time you exercise you might not experience all the positive effects, but rest assured they will come when you get into the groove of it. If you experience pain in the shoulders or other body parts, it is important to know that even light exercise has anti-inflammatory effects which can help reduce inflammation and pain.
You can get the positive effects of exercise already from walking, a light jog, swimming, dancing, yoga or riding a bike. An Ohio state study found that walking for 45 minutes at 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate significantly reduces symptoms of depression. Your maximum heart rate is calculated by taking 222 minus your age.
So let us help you put together a training program that gets you started today. Because it is important to start at a low pace and increase at a comfortable level, we have prepared a list of well suited activities and exercise ideas for you. All you need to do is pick the one you like the most.