Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Exercise Out Of Depression

Each year there are millions of people who are stricken with depression. Although it may be debilitating, those who suffer may want to run, walk or even swim the problem away. Studies now show that when exercise is performed in group setting, it’s as effective as standard antidepressant medications in reducing symptoms of major depression.
Other studies have shown that even solitary exercise, not matter what the duration, can be just as effective as group activities when it comes to beating the blues. One study published five years ago found that 10 months of moderate exercise outperformed the antidepressant Zoloft in those diagnose with moderate to severe depression. A study by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas found that 30 minutes of aerobics 3-5 times a week reduced symptoms by 50 percent in young adults.
It is believed that while workouts affect brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, exercise may also cause positive changes in other areas as well. Depression is often characterized by low energy, tension, and tiredness. But exercise seems to ease that anxious but lethargic state. Although it may not be enough to relieve stress, moderate exercise, such as a 10 minute brisk walk, will result in boosting your energy. Exercise such as a 45 minute aerobic workout does effect your mood by reducing tension. It may leave you tired, but researchers say there’s something called the rebound effect an hour or so later where your energy is increased. They also point out how working out can give you a psychological boost, including better self esteem and having a greater sense of accomplishment.
Still, experts agree that it is hard for a depressed person to start exercising mostly due to lack of energy. But the key to this problem is to start small. Don’t think about a fitness center and all the machine you’ll have to learn about. Start with maybe a walk around your block. Social support, peer pressure, and family support can all be helpful, especially when getting people to maintain exercise.
Doctors say that exercise is not a substitute for drug therapy, especially for those who are severely depressed. But they also point out that about one third of depressed people won’t gain any help from medication. For those patients, exercise may be a viable alternative.

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