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Another Reason to Exercise: Beat Depression

Perhaps the phrase jumping for joy means more than we thought...

New research has found that regular exercise may work as well as medication in improving symptoms of major depression. Not only does exercise affect some key chemicals of the nervous system (norepinephrine and serotonin) that are targets of antidepressant drugs, but exercise may also boost people's feelings of self-efficacy and promote positive thinking. Some experts also speculate that group exercise may have even more added benefits.

Doctors may not start widely prescribing exercise as a depression treatment just yet. However, for patients who are motivated, exercise could be a great option to start on their own.

For those not depressed, per se, exercise is still a great way to boost your mood even if you've just had a bad day.


Join The Conversation
tabloidprincess tabloidprincess 9 years
I totally agree. I got to 178 pounds. My highest weight ever and I lost twenty one pounds by exercising every single day and now I don't even care about losing more weight because I feel so fantastic everytime I am done working out.
murdock99tx murdock99tx 9 years
AMEN to all that! Exercise is a no-fail mood booster for me, too. Definitely wards off the blues. Thank you, God, for designing us this way! I'm looking forward to my next run. *looks fondly over at iPod loaded with great audiobooks & tunes* Exercise: it's the best gift to give yourself, esp. if you're feeling down. Even just a 20-minute easy walk. You deserve it! - LM
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I was on antidepressants for a while and once I started running, I stopped the meds and I felt better than I had in a long time. Running really does improve my mood and makes me feel a lot better.
sunshinevaness sunshinevaness 9 years
Exercising always makes me feel so good afterwards. I feel ready for any challenge life has to offer me.
allisonblue allisonblue 9 years
Practicing yoga is literally the best thing I have found to stave off depression. I just started commuting by bike, and man! Getting that rush of endorphins at the beginning and end of the day has given me an additional mood boost I never saw coming!
loux2 loux2 9 years
Yeah, my father passed away last year (heart attack at 54, another reason for me to eat well and exercise) and I found that exercise greatly improved my moods. If, for a week i did no exercise, I cried a lot more than those weeks that I have done exercise. It deffinatly helps :)
maryamrose maryamrose 9 years
I was taken off anti-depressants earlier this summer after a few years (for an eating disorder and depression) and started running outside regularly. The difference has been amazing. It works better than the anti-depressant, and I have a way to gauge my fitness progress without getting stuck on calories or pounds (now it's miles and time). I'd recommend it to anybody, we could all use a release.
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