According to recent studies, it was found that over 280 million people in this world are depressed. Depression is now becoming the main illness among the human race. Almost over half the population of Australia is suffering from this disease. In underdeveloped or developing countries, women are affected by this disease twice as men. But unfortunately, people do not consider it as a disease and remain ignorant. let’s learn how physical activity cures depression.
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What is depression?
Depression is a disorder of feeling sadness and overwhelmed without any apparent reason. Most people misunderstand this disease as normal mood swings but this is a serious disease that needs to be cured otherwise it will have a huge impact on your life as well as others. If this disease remains untreated it will cause severe mental and physical health issues.
Symptoms and Causes of Depression
You can easily tell if a person is depressed or not. The most apparent symptoms of depression are loss of interest, peevishness, sadness, loneliness, fatigue, stress, and anxiety. There can be many reasons behind a person’s depression. It might be possible that depression runs through a bloodline, may be associated with a change in hormones, or can be associated with biological cycles of the body.
Role of Physical Activity Cures Depression
Over the past years, depression has been treated with the help of medicines and counselling but these methods of treatment are not effective. Recently, it has been found that exercise or any kind of physical activity is almost 1.5 times more beneficial in the treatment of depressive disorder. It is scientifically confirmed that any kind of physical activity releases several neurochemicals that naturally help in the treatment of depression.
Impact of Physical Activity on the Brain
Exercise or any kind of physical activity has a huge impact on your body as well as on your brain. Exercise helps in reducing stress and depression. Besides that, exercise has other benefits too such as helping in the growth of nerve cells and the proper functioning of the Hippocampus, part of the brain, associated with learning and memory.
Decrease in Cortisol level
One of the benefits of exercise is that it can help to stabilize the level of Cortisol in our blood which is a stress hormone. In 2019, studies were conducted that found that increased levels of Cortisol in our blood are one of the causes of depression. Hence, physical activities can stabilize it over a long period.
Increase neurotransmitter level
During extreme exercise, the level of neurotransmitters also increases. Hence, more physical activity more neurotransmitters which in turn help our brain to reduce tension and stress in our body. Exercise helps in the release of Dopamine, endocannabinoids, Serotonin, endorphins, and other kinds of inflammatory chemicals such as CPR proteins and interleukins. All of these chemicals are associated with decreasing stress and depressive disorder and promote pleasure and calmness in our body and brain.
Increase in Antioxidant Level
When we eat something, our body’s metabolism absorbs useful nutrients and removes harmful waste. Our body needs antioxidants to remove harmful oxidant wastes. In some cases, when we do not exercise or show any kind of movements the level of antioxidants depletes in our body. Ultimately, there builds up oxidative stress in our body which is another important factor of depression. Exercise, on the other hand, helps our body increase the level of antioxidants and in the long term is a natural remedy for depression.
Benefits of exercises as a whole
Besides having positive effects on our brain cells to combat depression, exercises have other benefits as well that are equally helpful to treat depression. Some of them are discussed below,
Most of the people who are depressed find it difficult to get a night of proper sleep. Exercise has an indirect effect on our sleep patterns such as exercise promotes weight loss which in turn helps in the reduction of OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea). According to recent studies, it is proven that regular exercise of 20 to 30 minutes can help reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Among many symptoms of depression, one is the lack of interest. Most people lack a proper schedule and they do not know what to do with life. But when you add a little bit of exercise to your routine it can have a huge impact on your personality as a whole. Firstly, you will lose weight, feel more energetic, and find a little purpose to get out of bed daily. All these things give you confidence and have a positive impact.
Distraction from Negative thoughts
Another important effect of physical activity is that it helps you get distracted from negative thoughts. Depression is a kind of disorder that makes you feel less of yourself and you always focus on negative aspects of life. In this regard, exercise is the best medicine that makes you feel good and more energetic about yourself. If you are involved in some group exercises, it would help you even better because of all the social support and confidence you get.
Any kind of physical activity releases pleasure or soothing hormones in our body which help us fight against anxiety and stress levels. Exercise in this regard is very helpful because, for a depressed person, it is nearly impossible to manage his anxiety level. That’s why they went for medications and treatments. But medicines also have side effects and sometimes worsen the situation even more. It is best to add some kind of exercise to your daily routine that helps you naturally manage your anxiety levels.
Types of Exercises
According to research, there are so many kinds of physical activities you can do to manage your depression level. For example, Gardening, walking in a park, Geocaching, Yoga, swimming, hiking, kickboxing, dancing, and many more. All these types of physical activities help you best to tackle depression symptoms. A lot of studies suggest that 20 to 30 minutes of exercise on your mats for about 3 to 5 days a week can have a tremendous effect on your depression level.
Professor Apostolopoulos of Victoria University was researching Depressed people and she found that exercises have great benefits for depression, anxiety, and stress. She associated exercises with several mechanisms such as the Thermogenic hypothesis, Rapamycin Source, neurochemicals, neurotransmitters, etc. She concluded her research by saying that all these mechanisms are linked with a decrease in depression levels in patients. For example, in the case of the thermogenic hypothesis, she said when our body temperature increases due to exercise, it leads to a decrease in muscular activity hence alleviating depression symptoms in patients.
It is clear from the above discussion that exercises have significant effects on depression levels in patients. Exercises in one way or another always have a positive effect on depression symptoms. Moreover, treatment through an exercise routine is better than taking medications that have side effects. Besides that, it is scientifically proven that physical activities are 1.5 times more effective in treating depression than counseling sessions and medications. There are so many options regarding choosing the best exercise which suits you well and all of them are equally beneficial.
Always choose a shorter and high-intensity physical activity that will have immediate positive effects on your mood.
Also, read the latest study of top 7 exceptional post workout snack options here.