I was recently thinking about all that I have been through over the last few years with the death of my husband and daughter in a car accident. My life has been so challenging at times and there have been moments where I have wanted to just give up and throw in the towel, but my remaining children have always been my inspiration each day and my reason to keep going. I also know that my passion for fitness and health and my own personal commitment to my own fitness and health has given me strength at times I have needed it most, especially on those days when everything really did seem all too much.
Thinking about this has made me look at people who are experiencing depression and how exercise can play an important part to in helping to deal with some of the major symptoms of depression.
Depression for some can be long-lasting and very debilitating, it can change appetite, cause a loss of energy, feelings of helplessness, and can even produce significant anxiety as well.
But one route to recovery may start with some sneakers – it has been shown that consistent exercise can have significant benefits for treating depression and anxiety, it can help to boost mood, combat feelings of gloom, and prepare the brain to better handle stress.
I have felt the benefit of this first hand, as running and working out have been one of the ways I have coped with the stress of grief and the anxiety of rebuilding my life with my remaining children. When all has felt too much I would put on my running shoes on and hit the streets, just to release the anxiety of all I was going through and to work out how I was going to get through the next day and believe me I did find it extremely helpful and always felt much better after a run.
How does exercise help with depression:
Many health professionals give regular exercise a gold star for helping to prevent disease, keeping off excess weight. Another benefit is that the different types of physical activity can lessen depressive symptoms. There have been many studies over the years that have shown that people who regularly exercise show fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression then people who do not exercise.
Aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging, swimming or cycling can be a good way to start. Strength training with weights can also have positive effects. If you need a push as starting to exercise can be extremely difficult if you are experiencing depression then try personal training session.
But most of all it doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are moving and doing something. Start small, feel the achievement and build to something bigger.
And remember from little things big things can grow and life can change again for the better – I know this as I have been living this each day.
Shelley Myatt is the owner and operator of Shelley Myatt Fitness and Well-Being, Columnist, Life Coach & Motivational Speaker based in Toowoomba, Qld.