Exercise and Depression
The benefits of consistent physical activity seem to be limitless. People with active lives enjoy better moods, less stress, and more confidence. In previous research, exercise has shown to reduce the impact of depression and a new study might prove a long-term effect of physical activity on depressed people too!
Group-based exercise therapy proved to be just as effective in treating depression when compared with an antidepressant drug in 2007. Plus, the people who exercised regularly actually began to feel better even after being unresponsive to the antidepressant medication. This was good news because it signaled that something could be done to combat depressive symptoms without turning to prescription drugs.
Following the 2007 study, updated research now suggests that people experienced the positive effect of exercising only while the activity lasted. Although it was confirmed that an exercise intervention program did help depressed people, the improvement was not sustained if the person didn't stay active. Subsequently, the data was interpreted to represent a lack of sufficient evidence that fitness does generate long-term results in dealing with depression.
Of course, the logic behind the interpretation can be questioned. No matter what the condition, it would be highly unlikely that any type of physical activity could help if abandoned. For example, when a person is trying to lose weight, they would not expect to see any more calories burned if they stopped exercising and remained inactive. Therefore, why is it assumed that depressed people would not have to maintain their fitness program in order to benefit from it as well?
Researchers of the study mentioned that physical activity is definitely important for protecting against various diseases or illnesses that might accompany depression. Extensive work has been done to understand the powerful ways that exercise affects the mind. Since depression is generally considered a mood disorder, a person's use of their brain is especially significant in these cases.
Based on estimates, 17 percent of people that live in Western countries reportedly have depression at some point during their lifetime. Everyone should have all of the options available to them in treating their ailment. If people with depression would like to be more optimistic, have more energy, and experience a boost in their overall life outlook, exercise is a great option.
The Mayo Clinic, one of the most respected medical facilities in the United States, included this statement about depression on their website: "Physical activity reduces depression symptoms. Consider walking, jogging, swimming, gardening or taking up another activity you enjoy." In addition to the activity described above, adequate sleep, psychotherapy sessions, knowledge, and the avoidance of alcohol or illicit drugs are recommended for depressive situations.
Whether it's physical fitness or another form of treatment, consistency is the key. Pay attention to any warning signs and don't wait to seek professional assistance when necessary. Consult with a doctor to learn more about the possibility of exercising to relieve depression.