Exercising has many benefits through weight loss and muscle building which lead to other health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, better bone density, and the list goes on. But did you know that it can actually lessen the risks of depression ?
Depression is a major mental health issue, with over 350 million people world wide diagnosed. Yet, recent Studies show that exercising 3 times a week lessens the chance of bouts of depression by 16%. This happens because the more we exercise the more serotonin (brain chemical) is altered which leads to better moods, as well as better sleep and general feeling of well being - as well as combating depression. Stress chemicals such as adrenaline are also burned up during exercise which leads to a better state of mind.
Just the fact that someone is taking control over their recovery process by participating in some form of physical activity can be a major self-esteem booster. Particularly social exercising which helps people with depression not feel so alone. If nothing else at least it helps people forget about their depression for a little while and gets them out of the house.
Personally, I know that my exercise regime got me through some pretty dark times. It gave me something to focus on and when goals are reached, it boosted me even more and kept me going.
I am not about to tell you it's a cure by any means, but backed up with a well thought out treatment plan, it would certainly go a long way in helping in the recovery process. Even being around positive energy helps boosts someone's mood. I know I can be having a bad day but I get into my studio with high energy clients and the energy is contagious.
Remember, if you are feeling like you may be suffering from depression, or any kind of mental illness, please seek professional help
Further reading: ABC story on exercise and depression