Someone who is suffering from anxiety or depression may feel as if one of the last things they want to do is exercise. However, once motivated it can make a world of difference. There are many health issues which can be prevented with exercise such as; diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis. That being said, research on depression and anxiety has shown that physical as well as psychological benefits associated with exercising can help reduce depression and improve the mood.
Although the exact links between exercise and depression and anxiety are unclear, exercising as well as other forms of physical activity can help ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety and help the person feel better. Once feeling better, regular exercise can prevent depression and anxiety from returning.
There are a number of ways in which exercising can help to ease depression, for example:
- Releasing chemicals in the brain such as endorphins, neurotransmitters and endocannabinoids which are known as feel-good chemicals and can ease depression.
- Reducing immune system chemicals which could make depression worse.
- Increasing the temperature of the body which tends to have a calming effect.
There are also many emotional and psychological benefits to exercising which can help fight depression as well such as:
- Gaining Confidence: Being able to meet goals or challenges associated with exercise, even if they are small, can help boost your self-confidence. When you get in shape, you also feel better about the way you look.
- Forgetting About Concerns: Exercise is a great way of distracting you from a cycle of negative thoughts that only feed depression and anxiety.
- Coping in a Healthy Way: Managing your depression in a healthy way and positive way is really helpful. If you try feeling better by drinking alcohol and just thinking about how awful you fell hoping that it will just go away will only make things worse.