Regular exercise is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for those of us that live with depression. It’s hard to get out and exercise, when you don’t even feel like getting out of bed. When I’m feeling depressed, it seems like the last thing I want to do is get up and move, but I make it a priority anyway. How do I stay motivated?
I learned that, in some cases, exercise can be as effective as medication for the treatment of depression. According to a 2007 study in Psychosomatic Medicine, “The efficacy of exercise in patients seems generally comparable with patients receiving antidepressant medications.” Plus, I had a hard time handling the side effects of medication, and I found exercise was a powerful tool for treating my depression symptoms. If you do take medication, you may find that adding regular exercise to your treatment plan can help combat common side effects like fatigue and weight gain. Of course, we’re not suggesting you ditch your medications anytime soon (and certainly not without talking to your doctor first), but adding some exercise may help with your recovery process.
According to the Mayo Clinic, about 30 minutes a day of exercise 3-5 days a week can significantly improve depression symptoms.
Can’t fit this much work out time into your schedule? That’s okay. Every effort counts. Even 10 or 15 minutes exercise breaks can make a huge difference in the way you feel both physically and mentally. On days when I’m really down, just a short walk, with the sun on my face and a gentle breeze in the air, can change my entire perspective.