Exercise helps with depression

Exercise helps with depression

Almost everyone knows the feeling. After a long run, a few laps of swimming or a bike ride, you feel relaxed, recovered and happy. The good feeling of having done something for yourself and your body quickly makes you forget the hardships. Endurance sports can also have a positive effect on depression . Here, you can find out what sports can do for depression.

happiness through sport

Athletes often feel happy not only after but also during training. After all, many endorphins are released during sports, quickly blowing away gloomy thoughts. In many clinics, sport and exercise are, therefore, already part of the therapy plan for depression.


Which sports are suitable for depression?

Regular running, swimming or cycling can help patients. Team sports also strengthen the sense of community and the sense of achievement. In addition, when you exercise in a group or with a training partner, you are likelier to stick with it.

However, competitive sports are not recommended because they quickly convey a feeling of failure, which is much worse for depressed people than for healthy people.

Positive effects of sport

As with everyone, sports promote endurance, mobility, coordination, concentration, body awareness, self-confidence, and social skills in the mentally ill, especially in group activities.

In addition, the training helps

  • reduce anger and aggression
  • distract from negative perceptions and feelings
  • revealing to patients that they can cope with situations

Another critical factor is the solid structure that brings regular training into the patient’s everyday life, often characterized by listlessness and retreating into one’s own four walls.


Exercise to help with mild depression

At the same time, the problem lies in the listlessness of depressed people. Severely depressed people can hardly get up in the morning to get out of bed and brush their teeth. It takes more courage to lace up your sports shoes and go outside among people.

 Exercise therapy is, therefore, less recommended for severely depressed patients or those who have never exercised before. They would probably only torment themselves unnecessarily to have more failure experiences if they couldn’t pull themselves together to train again.

However, for people with mild to moderate depression, regular exercise offers a great opportunity and can even prevent them from slipping into severe depression. The feeling of taking action against the disease is indeed more inspiring than taking medication or long sessions with a psychotherapist. The positive feedback, both from the body itself and the environment, which will result from regular training, also helps on the way out of depression.

Set realistic goals

Before a patient starts training, he should always consult his doctor and have a health and stress check done. A smooth start to training with realistic goals is essential – nothing would be worse than the feeling of failure when you run out of breath during a planned ten-kilometre run.

However, if you don’t take on too much at first but already see putting on your training clothes as a success, you’re on the right track.

Conclusion: This is how sport helps with depression

The concrete effect of sport on depression is not proven. However, numerous studies have now confirmed the impressive results. In some cases, sport was even more successful than drug therapy, although one therapy does not exclude the other.

The following applies in any case: Sport brings routine and structure into the patient’s daily routine; it gives support, security and the good feeling of achieving something. It helps to forget negative thoughts and lose fears . With realistically set goals, small successes quickly arise, increasing mood and self-confidence.

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