Prevent Depression with Regular Exercise
Most of us tend to focus on diet when we think about improving our health. As bathing suit season approaches, we examine our reflection in the mirror with a newly critical eye. We all want to look good. Some of us even think of other concerns, such as heart health and the relative risk of developing cancer or some other life-threatening disease.
Diet is a crucial component of good health. So it’s a great place to start. But it’s not the whole story. Exercise is every bit as important if you want to look good, feel good, and stay well. It’s not just about looking good in a bathing suit, though. Exercise has benefits that go far beyond what you can see in the mirror.
Take depression, for instance. Exercise is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when you think about beating the blues, or avoiding major depression—the kind of crippling depression that requires medical attention.
But maybe it should be.
The benefits of regular exercise are myriad. One of them is a significantly reduced likelihood that you’ll suffer from clinical depression. Evidence abounds that women who get up and move more often are less likely to show symptoms of depression. In the laboratory, scientists have shown that it prevents levels of the brain chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, from falling. These involved animal models of human disease, but there’s no reason to suspect that exercise works any differently in humans. We need healthy levels of various brain chemicals to function properly and feel good. Exercise is one good way to ensure your body and your brain will remain healthy.
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Van Uffelen JG1, van Gellecum YR, Burton NW, Peeters G, Heesch KC, Brown WJ.Sitting-time, physical activity, and depressive symptoms in mid-aged women.Am J Prev Med. 2013 Sep;45(3):276-81. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.04.009.