Why Exercise Helps With Depression

Exercise isn’t a depression cure-all (there’s no such thing!) But plenty of research has shown that exercise can reduce or even prevent symptoms of depression.

Among people with depression and similar health conditions, exercise appears to have substantial mental health benefits. For instance, a review published in the Journal of Neurology found that exercise can significantly improve depressive symptoms and quality of life when used as an add-on therapy to usual treatment. The more exercise, the better!

It is known that exercising positively affects the brain, as well as cardiovascular health, overall mood, and more. Studies suggest that working out regularly for just 20 minutes can boost long-term memory by 10%. It also improves cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain, and slows down the onset of dementia. If those positive effects occur just after 20 minutes, imagine what one of our hour long classes can accomplish!

So which workouts fight depression best? Strength training exercises are known to help relieve symptoms of depression, according to an analysis of 21 studies. Strength training was linked across the board to improvements in depressive symptoms, such as low mood, a loss of interest in activities, and feelings of worthlessness. While it’s not a “cure,” lifting weights consistently reduced the symptoms of depression. This can also be a meditative practice which can improve your outlook and give you a great sense of fulfillment when you reach your goals! Our classes offer a chance to really push yourself, set personal records, and build a support system for your fitness journey.

If you struggle with depression, starting and maintaining an exercise routine may not be easy. It can be more difficult for people with depression to exercise because depression can reduce energy, cause body aches, increase pain perception, and disrupt sleep, resulting in less motivation to exercise. As you get more into shape, you’ll begin to look forward to these relaxing breaks in your day and enjoy it more and more. Depression is real, and mental health matters. You are never alone, and our support system at PHF will help guide you through your mental and physical health journey.