Saturday, 1 August 2009

Depression & Exercise

Depression can show itself in many different varieties. There is clinical depression, post-natal, stress induced, depression secondary to PMS, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Whatever type you feel you are suffering from there is usually an underlying unconscious reason. This you can address with either a qualified psychologist, life coach or Mind-Body Expert. Along your road to realising these causes you can soften the feelings of depression by exercising. Many studies show that participating in activities can elevate mood and anxiety states in any of the above mentioned groups.
It is shown through recent studies that exercise can elevate mood, increase levels of vigour, and reduce levels of confusion and fatigue in those with depression. Continued regular activity can have a preventative effect in the future, therefore this should not be thought of as a short term quick fix. Human beings are designed to move on a regular basis throughout their life span in order to feel an overall health benefit. Aerobic exercises such as walking, running, cycling or swimming seem to have received most of the research focus, although, individuals should also include activities such as weight training, group classes, or any other activity which keeps them interested. Group settings seem to have a beneficial effect because of the socialisation aspect. Other groups such as pregnant women can also benefit from a well rounded program.
So what activities does one choose if they are wanting these wonderful benefits? The first guideline is to choose something you like. If you love to swim, go down to your local pool and get started. A group class such as aerobics or yoga may be more your style, or you may prefer an individual based activity such as golf or weight training. If you choose something you like,you are more likely to adhere to continued activity. General recommendations suggest thirty minutes of moderate physical exercise daily in order to experience positive fitness and health benefits. These thirty minutes can be spread over 3 ten minute bouts through the day or can be done all at once. The benefits will be the same whether the time is blocked out to the three sessions or kept as one. The main thing is that you find some activities you enjoy and participate in them on a regular basis. Sometimes the first step is the most difficult. Start out by setting a goal of participating in an activity three times per week for 15 to 20 minutes, and work your way up to more days per week when you can. The object is to find a balance and remember that exercising everyday is only a guideline, you will still see benefits if you move three days a week. Finding a friend or colleague to join you can be a great motivating strategy. If not, make an appointment with a personal trainer, yoga or pilates instructor, this way you will feel obligated to meet someone. Be sure to tell this person your background and issues surrounding depression. It will be important for them to fully understand your goals and reasons for working with them. So, get out there and discover your body and the wonderful connection it has to your mind.