How to Fight Depression (Without the Pills)

Exercise-is-better-than-antidepressants

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How to Fight Depression (Without the Pills)

Exercise is better than antidepressants.

  • 1 in 10 Americans now takes antidepressant medication

But there are other ways to fight depression:

  • Regular exercise can improve mood in people with mild to moderate depression
  • Exercise can also help treat severe depression

Exercise vs Antidepressants Study:

  • 3 groups:
    • Aerobic exercise
    • Antidepressant medication
    • Aerobic Exercise + Antidepressant medication
  • Results:
    • After 16 weeks 65% of people in all 3 groups no longer had major depression
    • Exercise and antidepressant results were essentially the same
  • Follow up:
    • Exercise's effects lasted longer than those of antidepressants.

How does exercise relieve depression?

  • Exercise enhances the action of endorphins
    • Endorphins improve natural immunity
    • Reduce the perception of pain.They may also serve to improve mood
      • Another theory is that exercise stimulates the neurotransmitter norepinephrine
    • This may directly improve mood
  • Besides lifting your mood exercise:
    • Lowers blood pressure
    • Protects against heart disease and cancer
    • Boosts self esteem

What exercises are the best for fighting depression?

  • Get runners high
    • When it comes to fighting depression, aerobic exercises have the edge
    • 20-30 minutes most days a week
      • (Intensity level doesn't matter, just get moving!)
    • When you cross a threshold while running, you get "runners high"
    • A release of endorphins
      • Endorphins are the body's natural morphine
      • Produce joy and decrease pain levels
      • Boost strength to boost your mood
      • Study of 45 stroke survivors with depression found that a 10-week strength training program helped reduced symptoms of depression
  • Benefits of strength training:
    • Mastery and control
    • Visible results
    • Focus
      • Inhale, Exhale
  • Yoga
    • Improves flexibility
    • Involves mindfulness
      • (Which breaks up repetitive negative thoughts)
    • Improves balance
    • Is meditative
    • Study of 65 women with depression
    • 34 women who took a yoga class twice a week for two months showed a significant decrease in depression
      • Compared to the 31 women who were not in the class
  • Take a hike
    • Simply walking his numerous benefits
    • In one study, walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times has a significant influence on mild to moderate depression symptoms
    • Just getting outside can boost mood
      • Sunshine stimulates our serotonin levels
      • Many researchers believe that an imbalance in serotonin levels may influence mood in a way that leads to depression.
    • Benefits of walking include:
      • Lowers disease risk
      • Strengthening heart
      • Gives you energy

depression

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/serotonin
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/a-glut-of-antidepressants/
http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Exercise-and-Depression-report-excerpt.htm
http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression-pictures/great-exercises-to-fight-depression.aspx#/slide-7
http://www.tescoliving.com/health-and-wellbeing/fitness/2013/october/top-10-health-benefits-of-walking-everyday

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