The Best Workouts for Depression
What can depression do to your fitness health?
Suffering from depression can really take a toll on your fitness health, mainly because you lose the motivation to get up and focus on your physical well being. This also becomes a hindrance on how versatile you are in your fitness game, and you are left unaware of the potential your body has.
Exercising might not be a cure for depression but it certainly does affect your mental health and your mood. Exercising helps you feel active and boost your frame of mind in a positive way.
People who suffer from depression are encouraged to find an activity or indulge in a sport that helps them feel productive but also helps to create a goal for them to achieve so they feel better about themselves.
Can working out really help cure your depression?
We do not claim that working out helps to cure depression, but it certainly is a start. There are many ways that working out is a start to leading a healthier lifestyle; it helps you focus on your well being and gives you a reason to think productively. It is advised that a person should spend at least 20 to 30 minutes every day working out if they are really serious about staying active and feeling better.
Exercising, playing a sport or taking up workout challenges actually helps to confront your physical potential and promotes mental and physical growth. When you work on your skills and techniques you are actually becoming more mature mentally because it helps sharpen your reflexes, your balance, your focus and also your productivity.
Exercising and learning new skills are actually excellent ways of relieving stress and anxiety because you focus all your energy into learning something new. Most of the anxiety that comes with feeling low, unproductive and also not being good enough can all go away if you progress in some way or the other.
Ways in which exercising and working out help with depression
1. Increase in happy hormones like endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin
It might feel like a task to get up and exercise, and we can’t deny that, some days it really does take a lot of motivation to get out of bed and change into your workout shirts and head out the door. A person who suffers from depression might find it extra difficult to find the incentive to focus on their physical health, as that might not seem like a priority. However we are here to tell you that working out and exercising not only has physical health benefits but also helps your mental health. Exercising is not just about losing weight after all!
And working out regularly is especially advised to those who suffer from depression because of the kind of boost you get when you work out! Scientifically it has been proven that staying active on a daily basis helps to promote and induce “happy hormones” such as endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin. These hormones help you to feel motivated, productive and active.
It’s actually pretty awesome that your mood can be elevated by just working out!
2. Helps to improve your sleep pattern
In many cases it has been proven that our sleep pattern affects our depression, either you sleep a lot or you don’t sleep at all and suffer from insomnia. When you exercise however, you feel energetic and refreshed; the blood circulation in your body improves and you begin to think clearly; this feeling of excitement and rejuvenation is seldom felt by those who suffer from depression, hence it comes as a pleasant surprise to them.
Exercising will also help you to sleep better because you exhaust your body by doing a rigorous workout and your body aches for some rest in order to recover. Because of the direct positive impact that staying active has on your mental and physical health, it is seriously recommended by doctors and experts that one should workout at least three times a week.
3. Boost of energy
If you’re tired and basically fed up of feeling lethargic and fatigued, then trust us exercising will boost your mood and metabolism making you feel fresh and alive! When you exercise and especially do cardio, your heart begins to beat fast, blood circulation improves and your mind becomes alert.
Many exercises and sports require you to work on your mind and body coordination which means you need to work on your reflexes, balance and focus; this in itself is an excellent mental exercise for the brain as you begin thinking more productively. In short when you exercise then your mind is put to work and you don’t spend that time thinking of depressive things, rather you focus on what you’re doing at the present moment.
4. Loss of weight makes you feel better
Who does not like to lose weight? Especially if you consider yourself overweight, then it might be something you are always thinking about; not just to look good but also for your health. Remember, mental health is just as important as physical health, so when you do lose weight after many challenges and hard work, it can help you feel like you have accomplished something. This sense of achievement really helps to promote one's mood.
5. Helps create aims in life you can look forward to
Exercising and following a strict regime gives you a reason to wake up the next morning and look forward to doing something. People who suffer from depression often need an excuse that will make them feel productive and give a reason to get out of bed and fulfill an obligation.
We recommend that you make that obligation working out and focusing on your mental and physical health by making exercising an important part of your life.
6. Helps feel like you have achieved something
If you have taken up a hobby of playing a sport or improving in a set of exercises then you have basically created a goal for yourself. Every day when you wake up and work towards that goal you will definitely see an improvement in your technique and skill. This improvement will allow you to feel productive and feel like you have achieved something making you feel better about yourself and, indirectly, your mental health.
7. Helps you to socialize
Taking part in a team sport, going to the gym, or hiring a trainer will help you get out of the house and socialize. For people who suffer from depression it is common to feel aloof and isolated. And it’s common to feel discouraged about making new friends. However, taking part in a sport or learning to improve in an exercise will not only help you to talk and communicate with other people but also help you to discover a common interest with likeminded people. This feeling of having a mutual topic to discuss or talk about will prove an excellent way of socializing and encourage you further to open up to more people around you.
8. Learn new skills/techniques
Learning should be a constant goal for everyone, despite what your mental health states; you should always be encouraged to focus on your mental health and mental growth. When you learn a set of skills such as a new pose in yoga, or a new technique at a mixed martial arts class, you are not only challenging your mental health but also your physical self to improve. Creating and identifying that learning gap will help you to look forward to something and focus on something as well. This goal and sense of achievement is excellent for people who suffer from depression.
9. Group sports help you feel connected to others
Many times it is difficult for people who suffer from depression to connect to other people because of their notion of not being understood or simply because of the lack of motivation to communicate. When you take part in group sports such as football, basketball and cricket you realize that you have a common goal with your team and you learn to be supportive and also feel supported by that team. This induces the feeling of having a home or a safe haven where you can easily talk to someone and work together for a mutual goal.
10. Reason to avoid drinking/abusing drugs
Unfortunately the depiction of being depressed in the media forces us to think in certain ways of those who are depressed; the notion that they are always under influence or are into drugs is always perceived without any hesitation. Sadly, sometimes it is true that people who are depressed are under the influence of one substance or another. Some people with depression take heavy drugs in order to sleep properly or to just blur their thinking capacity in the hopes it will help them to forget about their mental state. Other times they drink as a coping mechanism for their depression.
Although exercising might not help you to get over depression or help you quit taking drugs, it certainly promotes productivity and helps you to look at other activities to help you cope and do more creative things.
11. Helps you spend time outdoors
Going out and spending time outdoors might seem easy to us, but there are many people who really struggle with this task. Doing outdoor activities and even just going out for a short walk can be a huge accomplishment for those who suffer from depression; hence exercising, playing a sport, swimming and going to the gym becomes an excellent opportunity to leave your house every day.
Exercises and workouts for people suffering from depression
Here is a list of exercises and activities you can do to help your mental state and especially your depression, so change into your most comfortable workout shorts and get ready to do some activities.
Yoga is an excellent way of diverting your attention and learning new skills. These set of exercises promote flexibility, help reduce weight, improve balance and improve your breathing skills.
If you want to escape the routine of going to the gym and just working out on some machines, then aerobics is the answer for you! Aerobics is actually a fun way of working out while also improving your skills, techniques and becoming more flexible!
3. Dance Classes
Dance classes again help you to lose weight immensely while having fun, enjoying music and making a lot of friends! Also listening to upbeat music really helps to elevate your mood and boost your mental energy!
Pilates are a fun way of challenging your body, becoming more flexible and socializing! So if you want a more toned body and learn new skills then definitely opt for a Pilate class near you!
Imagine the boost you will get when you jump in a pool of cold water! That will help you feel more alert, refreshed and your muscles will be rejuvenated when they are forced to do a set of exercises to help you stay afloat!
Change into your athletic wear and go out for a refreshing run early in the morning. Even just 15 minutes of running around in the neighborhood will help you stay refreshed, soak in the sun, breathe in fresh air and observe the people around you! Seeing and observing new things everyday will keep your mind occupied and help you to look forward to something every day.
Hiking is a new way of being adventurous, improving your stamina and also a killer workout for your legs! If you join a group and prefer to hike with them then this will also help you to socialize and connect with the natural world.
High intensity interval training helps to challenge your mind and body as you learn to improve your stamina to be able to do a set of exercises. And the challenge of doing the same set of exercises more efficiently each time is a great and productive goal to have especially if you’re prone to depression.
9. Weight Lifting
Weight lifting actually helps you to become stronger physically and mentally as you learn to overcome goals every day. Weight lifting also helps to improve your metabolism, lose weight and tone your muscles.
Imagine being confronted with dangerous situations every day as you face pain and injury directly; having the ability to control your movement, sharpen your reflexes and learn new fighting techniques will beat the anxiety and stress right out of you!
11. Mixed Martial Arts
Joining a mixed martial arts class will help you learn new techniques, join classes where you get to meet like-minded people, socialize and become more fit physically.
Looking for some fun beginner workouts to do at home? Check out this article: Top 5 Youtube Workout Channels For Beginners