It’s normal to have a case of the blues once in a while. You could feel stuck in a rut or feel like you have no direction. Maybe you’re just not feeling like yourself. While clinical depression is something to discuss with your doctor, there is an inexpensive and scientifically backed way to deal with a more incidental dip in your mood: exercise. If you’re in a slump this Monday, make time for working out to give your outlook a boost!
Previously, Move It Monday has discussed the effect of the runner’s high, a sensation of euphoria following vigorous exercise that arises as a result of certain hormones. Endorphins, while probably not responsible for the “high,” may still have a positive effect on mood because of their painkilling properties. But exercise also helps the brain grow neurons, which is something that antidepressant medications also do. While a good workout isn’t a cure for a mental illness, studies have shown that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise can put people in a better mood. It may also improve your self-image – even before you see any results!
Doctors who treat patients with depression are starting to consider exercise as an element of their treatment and that there may be other ways to treat mental illness before trying medications. Severe mental illness requires close medical attention, though, and many doctors insist that patients who want to try using exercise as their primary treatment agree to be monitored in case working out isn’t enough. But many patients taking part in studies have reported responding to exercise after not responding to medications; 30 percent of those patients were described as “in remission” from their depression.
If you have been dealing with the blues for a while, give your doctor a call if you think you need help. If you’re otherwise healthy and just feeling down, give 30 minutes of exercise a try. Start adding a new fitness routine on Monday and check in with yourself in a week. If you’re feeling better, keep it up!