Numerous studies have proven that physical exercise is an effective tool for fight depression. Practicing sports releases biochemical substances that benefit the functioning of the brain.
When this disorder is diagnosed, psychological and pharmacological treatments are generally prescribed, but it is necessary to complement them with mood-enhancing activities.
One of them is sport and in this post I want to tell you how it can help prevent and treat depression. Go for it!
How to fight depression?
Being depressed is not the same as feeling anxious or stressed about a bad day. The psychological and physical manifestations of this disorder go much further.
The first step in combating depression is to identify its symptoms. These are the most frequent:
- Persistent feeling of sadness and anxiety
- hopelessness or pessimism
- Irritability, frustration, or nervousness
- Guilt and helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in leisure activities
- Tiredness, fatigue and lack of energy
- Memory loss and difficulty concentrating
- Insomnia or sleeping too much.
- Appetite changes and weight loss.
- Headaches, cramps or digestive problems without an apparent cause.
In severe depressive cases, psychosis and recurrent thoughts about death or suicide may occur. To avoid risks, it is crucial that a specialist diagnose the type of depression.
exercise and mental health
Physical activity helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, among others. Strengthens the bone and muscle system, and helps control overweight.
In addition, exercise can be an ally to combat depression because:
- Release endorphins: When we exercise our body produces endorphins, a neurotransmitter substance that generates a feeling of pleasure and well-being.
- Get the worries out of your mind: Depression is characterized by cycles of negative thoughts. Sport helps you stay focused and moving, so your mind won’t have time for negative ideas.
- Helps to gain confidence: conquering sports goals or challenges, even small ones, can increase your self-confidence. Plus, getting in shape makes you feel better about how you look.
- Encourages social interaction: Practicing a physical activity gives you the opportunity to interact with other people who share similar tastes. Exchanging greetings and meeting new friends will allow you to maintain a good mood.
What is the best exercise to combat depression?
On the sport there are disciplines for all tastes and the best thing is that they all contribute to physical and mental well-being.
Tenniscrossfit, yoga, running, swimming, basketball, walking and other sports activities can stimulate the hormones of happiness (endorphins), and increase the heart rate for a healthy body.
But this is not all, it is also true that other tasks such as washing the car, cleaning the garden, dancing or going for a walk keep you active, favoring positive emotions.
So, we can ensure that there is no specific exercise to combat depression. Any physical activity that involves movement helps to preserve psychological balance.
How long do you have to exercise?
Exercising 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week is ideal for improving depression symptoms. Although, sessions of 10 to 15 minutes a day can also be planned according to the physical state of each person and gradually increase that time.
Organizing a training scheme allows you to keep track of objectives. Vigorous activities can be included, such as running or swimming, three times a week and the remaining two days combine exercises strength and cardio.
Tips to start exercising
Starting a physical activity and staying constant can become a great challenge. Now I bring you some tips to start step by step:
1. Find an activity you like
Explore the options and find something that you find pleasurable. Think about what physical activities you would like to spend some time doing.
You could find a time slot to dance or perhaps you would like to go for a bike ride. If you have children you could play soccer with them after school. Practicing something you love will help you stay motivated.
2. Talk to a mental health professional
If you’re feeling sad, stressed, and low on energy, talk to your doctor or a mental health expert. Surely, they will indicate the appropriate treatment along with an exercise routine that suits your possibilities.
3. Set clear, defined and achievable goals
Make a training plan based on your abilities and needs. Think about what you can do now and increase the degree of difficulty as you go along.
If you set unrealistic goals, it is likely that you will not meet them, you will feel frustrated and abandon what you started.
4. Analyze what prevents you from starting
If you see exercise as a “must” that you are not doing, your mind will associate it with failure. Think of your physical activities as a resource that will help you feel better.
You can search support in a friend to exercise together Or if you don’t have money to join a gym, do something free, like go for a walk or follow an online home workout video.
It is important to highlight that to obtain the benefits of exercise, you must be constant and disciplined. These two attitudes are the basis for turning sport into a habit.
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