Exercise has a whole host of benefits that range from helping us maintain a healthy weight to minimizing the risks of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Even as we age, exercise has a positive impact on our overall health and mobility. One aspect of exercise that may be overlooked often is how it affects our mental health. Many studies have shown that those who exercise regularly can lower their possibility of experiencing depression, as well as, boosting their overall mood.
We have all heard the term depression, but do we understand what clinical depression truly is? The average person may get this diagnosis confused with the emotion of sadness. While there may be a component of sadness in clinical depression, it is way more complicated of an issue. Often clinical or major depression is diagnosed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders which is derived from the American Psychiatric Association. The list of possible symptoms is:
These are just some of the symptoms of clinical or major depression and as you can see, this is a little more complex than mourning the loss of a family pet or friend. Clinical depression can negatively affect just about every aspect of our daily lives and that’s a bad thing!! This is where exercise and its benefits come in.
While exercising may seem like the last thing you want to do when you are clinically depressed, the benefits are just too great to blow off. Exercise can significantly improve symptoms of depression and anxiety once you get motivated. This exercise can be anything from walking, weightlifting, and even a friendly basketball game in the driveway. Yes, exercise can help with a whole host of medical conditions ranging from obesity to diabetes and even arthritis. The Mayo Clinic identifies several benefits of exercise for those with depression that include:
There are a number of options available to those who suffer from depression and may want to go the exercise route instead of pharmaceutical drugs. Some are as simple as getting out and walking around the block at home, while some others may require additional aids such as:
Depression can be a tough nut to crack, but regular exercise has many physical and psychological advantages to dealing with this problem. Looking good and feeling good is closely related and should not be overlooked. Always check with your physician before beginning any exercise program to be sure what you are doing is safe and appropriate for you.
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Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.
In 2006, ...
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