Did you know that 1 in 10 Americans take antidepressant medication?
I am not surprised to hear that statistic because so many of us have become accustomed
to reaching for a pill to cure what ails us.
We often see it as a quick fix, but is it really the best option to lift your mood?
Are antidepressants the most effective way to treat the blues?
Fortunately we have options.
There are other more natural ways to handle moods or mild depression:
– Regular exercise can improve mood in people with mild to moderate depression
– Exercise can also help treat severe depression
But don’t just take my word for it, research confirms this.
Exercise vs Antidepressants: Which Worked Better
In one research study of people suffering from depression, participants were divided
into 3 groups:
1. Aerobic exercise
2. Antidepressant medication
3. Aerobic Exercise + Antidepressant medication
-After 16 weeks, 65% of people in all 3 groups no longer had major depression.
-Exercise and antidepressant results were essentially the same.
-When researchers followed up with participants, they found that the effects of exercise lasted
longer than those of antidepressants.
How Exercise Helps Relieve Depression
-Exercise enhances the action of endorphins
-Endorphins improve natural immunity
-They reduce the perception of pain
-They may also serve to improve mood
-Another theory is that exercise stimulates the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which may directly
-Besides lifting your mood, exercise:
–Lowers blood pressure
–Protects against heart disease and cancer
–Boosts self esteem
Get Moving to Beat the Blues!
Get a Runner’s High
-When it comes to fighting depression, aerobic exercises have the edge
20-30 minutes most days a week
-Intensity level doesn’t matter, just get moving!
-When you cross a threshold while running, you get “runners high”
-A release of endorphins
-Endorphins are the body’s natural morphine
-Produce joy and decrease pain levels
Boost Strength to Boost Your Mood
A study of 45 stroke survivors with depression found that a 10-week strength training program
helped reduced symptoms of depression
Strength training benefits included:
-A feeling of mastery and control
-The positive effects of inhaling and exhaling
Rock Some Yoga
-Involves mindfulness which breaks up repetitive negative thoughts
-In a study of 65 women with depression:
34 women who took a yoga class twice a week for two months showed a significant decrease
in depression compared to the 31 women who were not in the class
Take a Walk in the Sun
-Simply walking has numerous benefits
-In one study, walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times has a significant influence on mild
to moderate depression symptoms
-Just getting outside can boost mood
-Sunshine stimulates our serotonin levels
-Many researchers believe that an imbalance in serotonin levels may influence mood in a way
that leads to depression.
-Benefits of walking include:
–Lowers disease risk
–Gives you energy
Come On, Get Up & Get Happy!
I can vouch for the power of movement to lift my moods!
Whenever I am feeling down, a brisk walk in the fresh air and sunshine has worked wonders
Of course, this post is not to be taken as medical advice.
Consult with a medical professional if you are suffering from symptoms of depression.
What about you?
When you’re feeling blue, what has worked for you?
Share your thoughts and experiences with us.