Exercise and Depression
How Often Should I Exercise to Ease Depression?
Try to exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week. Studies indicate that exercising four or five times a week is even better. Take it easy if you are just beginning. Start exercising for 20 minutes. Then you can build up to 30 minutes.
What Are Some Tips for Getting Started Exercising?
When you first start your exercise program, you should plan a routine that is easy to follow and maintain. When you start feeling comfortable with your routine, then you can start varying your exercise times and activities.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Choose an activity you enjoy. Exercising should be fun.
- Put your exercise routine into your schedule. If you need reminding, put it on your calendar.
- Variety is the spice of life. Make sure you vary your exercises so that you don't get bored. Check your local gymnasium or community center for an assortment of exercise programs.
- Don't let exercise programs break the bank. Unless you are going to be using them regularly, avoid buying health club memberships or expensive equipment.
- Stick with it. If you exercise regularly, it will soon become part of your lifestyle and will help reduce your depression.
What Should I Do if Exercise Is Painful?
Never ignore pain. You may cause stress and damage to your joints and muscles if you continue exercising through pain.
If you still feel pain a couple hours after exercising, you have probably overexerted yourself and need to decrease your activity level. If your pain persists or is severe, or if you suspect you have injured yourself, contact your doctor.
If you are unable to regularly participate in exercise or athletics, you can also try other tools to help boost your mood. Studies of meditation and massage therapy have demonstrated that these techniques can stimulate endorphin secretion, increase relaxation, and aid in boosting mood.