Exercise for depression: Can exercise treat depression?

Exercise for depression: Can exercise treat depression?

Depression and excercise

Exercise for depression Regular exercise is one of the best ways to treat depression. Regular exercise can save thousands of dollars which you spend on your mental health professional fees and antidepressant

Studies show that regular exercise reduces the risk of serious mental health problems include depression, schizophrenia, and stress-related issues such as anxiety. 

Regular exercise not only helps to treat mental health problems but also make you look more fit – and feel better about yourself and life in General and improve your overall confidence 

                     Table Of Content

Exercise and mental health

Exercise has been found to decrease feelings of stress, anxiety and depression and improve your mood. This is because during exercise brain release the hormones which helps to regulate anxiety,stress and reduces feelings of depression. 

During exercise brain also releases endorphins hormone, which make you feel good and make you feel happier as a result- The amazing thing is, you don't need to do an intense workout for the effects, but just being active can help make you happier 

Regular exercise also improve brain function and help memory and thinking skills-  during Exercise your heart rate increases which promotes the flow of oxygen and blood to brain,helping it function more effectively.

Exercise also increase the production of hormones that can enhance the growth of brain cells- ...and exercise has been shown to grow the hippocampus, hippocampus is a part of the brain that's vital for memory and learning 

Also read:-Does super brain yoga work for depression

Does exercise help treat depression?

Countless scientific studies have showed the connection between exercise and depression. 

Studies appeared in a article in The New York Times in the first study scientists examined 1.1 million adult men and women that’s right and measured their levels of fitness and how depressed they were and they found this striking correlation between levels of fitness and the level of depression turns out that the top third of aerobic fitness compared to the people in the bottom third the people in the bottom third were 75 percent more likely to become depressed than the people in the top third of fitness and in the middle third of people they were 25% more likely to be depressed again than the top third so bottom third 75% more likely to be depressed middle third 25% more likely to be depressed hence a clear correlation between level of fitness and your mental health in the second study researchers pulled together 25 previous study in which people in the middle of a depressive episode were asked to begin an exercise program

This program consisted of moderate exercise such as brisk walking jogging hiking bicycle riding what they found was that sure enough when people began an exercise program and completed it it had a large and significant effect in terms of Lessing depression. 

Also read :- Is Depression Curable? How to Manage Symptoms

Benifit of exercise are:-

Exercise provides relief from stress

If you had a rough day at home or at the office, one of the most effective ways to get relief from all the accumulated tension is to go for a walk or to head for the gym. Studies show that you reduce both physical and mental stress when you exercise and work up a sweat.

Exercise increases the production of happy hormones. 

Working up a sweat helps release endorphins, hormones that create a happy buzz and make you feel lighter and happier. These hormones attach to the receptors in your brain that opioid drugs also attach to. They are the cause of “runners high” and are released by the body to help numb pain.

It enhances self-confidence

Exercise enhances self-esteem; it gives your self-image a boost. Even if you still have a long way to go to achieve your ideal weight or level of health, the mere act of exercising helps to make you feel strong and capable. It empowers you and elevates your self-worth, particularly when you stick with a workout program and see what you can achieve with dedication and focus.

Exercise Releases Positive Hormones

For a long time, researchers, mental health experts and doctors have known that exercise has a positive impact on emotions and mental health. What they didn’t know was why. They’ve discovered that when a person exercises, their body releases several different categories of chemicals. These chemicals include neurotransmitters, endorphins, and endocannabinoids.

The release of “Feel good” Hormones

The basic function of antidepressant medications is to enable your brain produce hormones like endorphins and dopamine as this allows the person suffering from depression to feel good and relieve them of some of the symptoms of depression. 

It turns out exercise would help you do the same thing, except that this time it would all be natural and the regulation of this hormonal release would be done solely by your brain. These hormones are painkillers, and technically they are released by the brain to prevent exercise from causing pain, but they also play a prominent role in regulating the mood and relaxing the mind.

Improves cognitive function

 There is some evidence that performing physical exercise can improve some cognitive functions such as memory, reasoning, problem solving, and spatial awareness. 

Greater Calm & Clarity 

Through regular exercise, anyone can learn to access powerful states of inner calm and they can also learn to clearly observe destructive or intrusive thoughts to the point where they can develop greater clarity regarding them.

A Confidence Boost.

 Regular exercise shows you what you’re capable of. You learn that your body can do amazing things and you feel more confident and in control over your life. And after exercising for a while, you may also see physical results, which is often a fun benefit.

Better Overall Health. 

Finally, let’s just mention that people who exercise not only live longer, but they also live better quality lives. Exercise improves your health at every level. You’ll see mental, emotional, and physical improvements.

Exercise improve cardio-respiratory status

As we can see there are many mental health benefits of regular physical exercise, in fact the ones we have outlined here are only a small number of how many there really are.

How much exercise is required

Studies show that children and adolescents require one hour or more of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity daily to include vigorous activity at least three days a week

Examples of moderate aerobic activity would be brisk walking vigorous aerobic activities are like jogging running playing basketball playing soccer okay what about adults adults at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity again that’s like brisk walking five days a week or 45 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days a week but as the optimum the very best thing for you to do to be as healthy as possible is to strive for moderate aerobic activity five hours a week or vigorous aerobic activity two-and-a-half hour a week along with resistance activity that’s like you know lifting weights free weights yoga Pilates bands so that’s the muscle strengthening activity at least two days a week and for older adults the recommendations


How exercise can improve mental health? 

Exercise helps to strengthen the brain. Exercise helps the brain produce chemicals which support brain function. It enhances the hippocampus part of the brain; hippocampus facilitates learning and memory.  It boosts brain power and sharpens memory, higher-thinking, and decision-making

Is exercise is as effective as antidepressants? 

Yes, Research shows that exercise is a powerful intervention for patients suffering from clinical depression (Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 2006). Establishing an exercise routine will help fight depression not only right now, but in the future as well. Sticking with your workout routine will maintain not only your physical health but your mental health as well.

Which type of exercise is good for depression?

The truth is that just about any type of exercise can help improve depression and anxiety. Your physical activity must be joyous. 

Is Jogging good for depression?

Yes, Jogging is very beneficial for treating depression because Jogging increases the level of the feel-good hormone and serotonin hormone in the person’s brain. 

Why it is hard to do exercise when you are depressed? 

When you are in a state of depression, you will feel as though you have no motivation for anything, nothing excites you, nothing interests you, and even the smallest tasks can feel unconquerable.

When you are depressed, the only thing that makes sense to you is the thought of curling up in bed and closing your eyes in the hope that the world and everything in it will just disappear.

Can regular exercise prevent depression relapse?

Yes, regular exercise can prevent depression relapse; one studies show that group taking medication in the study, 38% had relapsed into depression, whereas only 8% had relapsed among the exercise group.

Do low-intensity exercise help to treat depression?

Yes, even good old housework can be used as a means of physical exercise. Obviously there is a lot of physical effort involved in doing work around the home so this will have a positive effect on your physical body, but also at the same time you will feel really good mentally about getting the work done, and the cleanliness of the space that you have developed. Housework works wonders to improve your physical and mental condition


The benefits of exercise for the clinically depressed. (n.d.). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/

Systematic review of meta-analyses: Exercise effects on depression in children and adolescents. (n.d.). Frontiers. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00081/full

Effectiveness of physical exercise in the treatment of depression in older adults as an alternative to antidepressant drugs in primary care. (n.d.). BMC Psychiatry. https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-018-1982-6

Regular exercise may help lower your risk of depression. (2018, April 25). nhs.uk. https://www.nhs.uk/news/mental-health/regular-exercise-may-help-lower-your-risk-depression/

Harvard Health Publishing. (2020, April 6). Exercise is an all-natural treatment to fight depression. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/exercise-is-an-all-natural-treatment-to-fight-depression

Exercise as a treatment modality for depression: A narrative review. (n.d.). ScienceDirect.com | Science, health and medical journals, full text articles and books. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2090506817303081