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Exercising with depression — or for mental health in general — isn’t always talked about in the field. However, it is beneficial and linked to immense benefits for those struggling with a mental health disorder, specifically depression. The connection between depression symptoms improving because of exercising is part of treatment plans at many facilities and clinics, including Alter Wellness.
Exercise boosts endorphins that improve mood. When used as an add-on treatment for depression, it has been shown that those experiencing this mental health condition benefit from exercising.
Though not an exact treatment for depression, exercising is one option that can be placed on treatment plan programs to help. In conjunction with other therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and support groups, exercising can help the physical symptoms you may feel from depression.
Depression: Signs and Symptoms
Before we dive into the benefits of exercising for depression, it is important to understand what depression is and if you are experiencing a depressive disorder. For someone to be diagnosed with depression, they must be feeling at least one or more of the following symptoms for two weeks or more:
- Persistent sadness or feelings of emptiness
- Loss of interest in activities that you used to enjoy
- Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
- Difficulty in concentrating or forgetting things
- Oversleeping or insomnia
- Changes in weight because of appetite
- Aches and pains, headaches, cramps, and digestive problems without a clear physical cause
- Suicide ideation, or attempted suicide
Types of Depression
Although depression is a serious mood disorder, there are several forms of depression that you could be diagnosed with by a doctor. These forms include:
- Major depressive disorder (MDD)
- Persistent depressive disorder
- Perinatal depression
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Depression symptoms with psychosis
Regardless of which you are diagnosed with, exercising has been shown to be a long-term solution for some of the symptoms of depression.
Exercising With Depression
In a study published by the National Library of Science titled “Exercise for Depression,” adults 18 and up who had been diagnosed with depression were studied. With the help of CBT, the results showed that those experiencing depression benefited from adding exercise to their treatment plan.
The author concluded, “Exercise seems to improve depressive symptoms in people with a diagnosis of depression when compared with no treatment or control intervention.”
Though more studies are being done to improve results, it is essential to recognize the benefits exercise can bring to your life when you are going through a mental health condition.
Adding Exercise to Your Treatment Plan
When adding exercise to your treatment plan, it is important to talk to your doctor first. The doctor can make sure you are ready for an exercise plan and what that plan may look like going forward. Another step that can be taken is talking to your therapist.
Talking to a therapist or even a psychiatrist can help determine how to incorporate exercise into your treatment plan. If you are ready to add to your treatment plan or are taking CBT, they can help you plan out your exercise regimen.
Exercising on a daily basis is important. However, it can be hard to find the time to do so. If you are struggling to add exercise to your treatment plan, there are a few ways to go about doing this.
Here are some ways you can add exercise to your daily life:
- Going to the gym before or after work or therapy
- Walking to various places instead of driving there
- Taking the stairs when you can
- Walking outside for fifteen minutes a day
- Getting a dog, as they require walks daily
As your symptoms begin to improve, you may even find that you enjoy certain physical activities. This is a wonderful way to get to know how your body reacts to living healthier without being bogged down by depression symptoms.
Benefits of Exercise for Depressive Disorders
When you experience a loss of interest in activities because of depression, exercising can help ease the feeling of emptiness. Exercising is similar to a holistic therapy approach as it requires no medication and can be done inside and outside. Along with getting treatment through therapy, exercising can ease your overall depression symptoms.
Benefits of exercising include:
- Getting your mojo back, or zest for life
- Feeling ready to take on the world
- Gaining confidence
- Coping in a healthy manner
- Managing your trauma symptoms
- Social interaction with others
Like CBT, which helps you challenge your thoughts and beliefs that lead to faulty thinking, exercising can also challenge you. Starting off slowly and adjusting your action plan can be a good idea. Though depression symptoms may not go away with exercise, moving your body can take tension off you emotionally.
When your emotional and physical well-being begins to grow healthier, your overall quality of life benefits. Exercising with depression can help you achieve this goal. You are not alone in this fight, and getting someone to join you on your exercise journey can make all the difference.
Ready to lift your spirits and improve your overall depression symptoms? At Alter Wellness Care, we devised an outpatient treatment program that works for you. Individualized and mission-oriented, the team at Alter Wellness Care is dedicated to helping you live a healthier and happier life. Regardless of your circumstance, there is help, and there is hope. We know that taking the first step in getting proper help for your mental health condition isn’t always easy. That is why we are here to help you get back on track with programs that work well for you, including CBT and exercise as therapy. We encourage you to give our team a call at (866) 311-3510 . Learn to thrive with depression.