I Tried These 5 Exercises To Fight Depression. Here’s What Happened Next!
When I’m feeling down and confused, a quiet walk in the park makes me feel relaxed. So keeping this in mind, I thought why not go out for a walk when my depressive symptoms come knocking? Turns out exercise is the best antidepressant – or equal to one – when it comes to fighting depression.
Physical activity – even a walk – can work in easing symptoms of depression. Depression is a condition that makes it hard for one to execute their daily tasks without feeling an invisible boulder on their back.
The most common symptoms of depression such as low motivation, zero energy, and no interest in doing something pleasurable can make everything even more challenging.
Luckily, simple exercises can help boost your mood and ease symptoms of depression. While exercises can help fight depression, they are not a permanent cure. It is advised that you seek professional help and treat exercise as an alternative treatment, not primary.
“Researchers say that exercise helps in beating depression, and an hour of it every day makes not only your body fit but also your mental health. Though there are multiple ways to kill this lifestyle problem, exercises to beat depression prove to be the significant catalyst, and they are capable of twisting the feelings of anxiety, anger, distrust, and stress.”
Studies, over time, have found that those who exercise 3-4 times a week are less susceptible to depression than the rest. When we talk about exercises for stress and anxiety, it doesn’t mean exhausting runs and painful workouts. Yet, research proves that intensive workout reduces the level of depression by more than 47 percent. Good enough, right?
So, if you are looking for ways to fight depression, then I am going to recommend physical exercises, recommended by the doctor. I tried some of the best exercises to fight depression too. What happened next, for that you need to scroll down!
5 Best Ways to Exercise for Depression:
Week 1: Walk & Jog
As I already knew the benefits of walking on my mood and mind, I thought why not give walking and jogging a try to fight my depression symptoms? I had the idea that walking for half an hour would be a start to overcoming depression.
The first challenge was getting out of bed. Somehow I managed to get up through push alarms, mom’s pressure, and my favorite music on TV. It took some time, but I managed!
Finally tied my shoelaces and left! Honestly, day one of the exercise was terrible. But the moment I began diverting my mind to things around me rather than my thoughts, things got better.
Walking through the park allowed me to notice the shape of clouds in the sky, birds chirping, people laughing, and the green grass that surrounded me. While nothing was new, it felt so. In 3 days, I was willing to work out slightly more, and it felt good. This is good exercise for depression.
“Walking and jogging indeed clears your head and provides a greater chance of physical stamina, and mental strength, and removes mild depression symptoms with due course of time. Loneliness itself gets erased with a boost in self-esteem.”
Week 2: Jogging+ Community Yoga
Now that my symptoms of depression were somehow controlled, I thought to take my exercise one step ahead. Keep in mind that you can always choose one or more exercises to fight depression but I thought of mixing two so that boredom and anhedonia didn’t attack me soon.
I continued with my daily jogs and walks but then I decided to combine them with community yoga. The idea came to me as I passed through a yoga class happening in the park I was walking in.
The idea of interacting with others didn’t sound appealing to me but then I also needed to clear my head so I gave it a try. Joining the Yoga community was fun! I tried various yoga asanas and breathing exercises. I continued this routine for another week and found that combining the two exercises was helping me fight depression, naturally.
“Yoga not only calms down the soul but also improves the physical core. If Yoga is combined within a community having interested members, you can exchange your experiences and overall improve social elements within. Keeping jogging along with the schedule also boosts the cardio strength.”
Week 4: Cycling
I spent my weeks 2 and 3 doing jogging and yoga but then I tried to switch to another physical activity to find a new interest. So, I got my bicycle repaired on the weekend and took it out on Monday morning.
Another best exercise to fight depression, cycling helped me keep a distance from home and discover new places such as a beautiful old railway track, a plant nursery, and a newly-developed aquarium.
Week 5: Aerobic Classes
I’ve mentioned this before, high-intensity exercises can be the best type of exercise for depression and this includes Aerobic! After trying the above exercises for depression, I thought to give aerobics a try. Aerobics, a high-level strength training form, can make you sweat yet the music beats keep the spirits high.
Plus, these types of exercises can help release endorphins, one of the four happy hormones that can help improve mood and fight depression.
High-level training also greatly cuts down stress levels, and the same thing worked well for me too!
Did You Notice?
By the time I was done experimenting with the exercises for depression, stress, and anxiety, my symptoms of depression reduced. Yes, I was still struggling with mild financial stress, failed career, and relationship stress but now I was willing to work on those issues rather than wallow in self-pity and let my depression take over my mind.
NOTE: Mine was the case of mild depression and only exercise couldn’t take them away. While they were a major source of inspiration to move ahead and look for solutions, they weren’t all.
My symptoms of depression weren’t severe so I didn’t require psychological intervention and natural ways to fight depression came in handy. However, if your depression symptoms are severe, then it is recommended you speak to a professional immediately for treatment.
TIPS For You to Practice Exercise for Depression
Keeping aside my healing journey, allow me to share some tips that may work out better for you when you’re fighting depression and anxiety:
Keep meeting your cheerful friends for a cup of coffee. Try to stay away from negative people because just like laughter and positivity are contagious, negativity is contagious too.
Take your pet out for a quick walk. A quick cuddle with your furry friend or a walk with your dog can also help you! Remember, working with pets can release oxytocin, another happy hormone that can boost your mood and ease symptoms of depression.
Use some stress management apps on your phone or keep Social Fever to limit social media usage. Too much social media use can set back your recovery. However, it doesn’t mean that you should stop interacting socially altogether. Just keep your social media use in check and keep practicing stress management exercises.
Spend some time doing things you like such as gardening, cleaning the cupboard, etc. Having and working on your hobbies can also keep your mental and physical health in check. If you don’t have a hobby yet, try to pick an activity that interests you and start from there. This can also keep your anhedonia away.
What Happened Practicing These exercises for depression?
After trying all the types of exercises to fight depression, my personal favorite remained jogging and yoga. These two types of exercise for depression helped me maintain a balance of mental and physical strength, and I could finally feel something right that I felt was shredded months ago.
And yes, I consulted a psychologist as well, and they were very diligent in taking care of my mental health with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), an approach that helped me work on my thoughts and beliefs.
And guess what? I recovered faster than ever as exercises acted as a catalyst and these words were pushed by my doc! Again, while exercises are not the only way to keep depression and anxiety in check, they are a good way to begin your healing. Just keep in mind to get help when you feel you need it.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE! YOU ARE FABULOUS, FEEL IT. WE ARE WITH YOU! TALK TO US!
I hope my healing journey would work as an inspiration to you and that the exercises I chose to fight depression would help you as well. If you have an exercise to fight depression that you prefer or find helpful, then let me know in the comments below. I’ll give them a try as well!
If you’d like to share your thoughts, don’t hesitate to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Instagram and Facebook.
Take Care and Keep Fighting!