It’s scientifically proven that exercise reduces depression. Regular aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilise mood and improve sleep. About five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate these effects.
However, mustering up the energy to get out of bed if you feel depressed can seem impossible. Depression makes people feel hopeless and causes them to dwell on how badly they feel. If depression is interfering with your motivation to get going, then think about introducing rituals into you daily routine so that exercise becomes a normal part of everyday life. For example, lay out your workout kit before you go to bed so that’s the first thing you do in the morning.
Studies have shown that as little as three hours of regular exercise a week not only reduces the symptoms of depression just as effectively as medication such as antidepressants, but it also reduces fatigue and improves concentration and cognitive function.
Your workout doesn’t have to be super intense; just get moving! A 10 minute walk can be just as effective as a 45 minute endurance session to get the feel good endorphins going and release some of the tension in the muscles. I’ll bet no one has ever felt worse after a workout.
The very act of looking after your well-being through exercise in itself could go a long way to improving overall self esteem and confidence. Working out can also provide a good distraction, to interrupt those negative thought patterns and help begin to build up some self respect through setting and reaching some measurable goals and stop people from becoming withdrawn and feeling worthless.
I’m not saying that exercise is a magic cure for depression and stress – but you will feel more positive right away.