How exercise can help ease mild depression

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The days are getting a bit shorter and slightly colder. Soon winter will be here and for some of us that marks the onset of symptoms of mild depression.

But it’s not just the winter months that can affect us, many of us sometimes just hit a low patch… and when that happens, the last thing you should do is put your head under the covers or become a TV binge-watching couch potato.

Escape to the outdoors

According to the latest research, dealing with the blues by becoming a lethargic couch potato could actually worsen your symptoms of depression.

Mild depression or suffering with low mood is usually an indication that you have low levels of the brain chemical serotonin… and the best way to boost levels of this feel-good neurotransmitter is to get moving.

For the study, published in the Journal of Health Psychology, researchers compared the self-reported feelings of wellbeing and depression of 419 middle-aged adults with their physical activities over the course of four days.

Participants who were the most passive experienced the lowest mood, compared to those who engaged in some light or moderate physical activity.

But the good news is that those who had been inactive but began some light or moderate exercise during the study showed the most improvement in their psychological well-being.

Now I know that this was a very small and short study, but the results only go to show how easy it is to turn your mood around in a short period of time.

The most effective exercise for raising serotonin levels is aerobic activity – the stuff that gets your heart pumping – so if you’re ambitious by all means go for a run, a swim or a cycle.

However, this latest study showed that even light exercise can benefit your mood… without having to even break a sweat, get out of breath or get your heart pounding. That means you’ll get a brain boost even from low-intensity activities, like gardening, walking the dog or strolling in the park.



Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.

Sources:

Light Exercise Boosts Spirits, newsmax.com/Health/Health-News/light-walking-exercise-boosts/2017/05/12/id/789781/

Physical Activity Intensity and Subjective Well-Being in Healthy Adults, journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1359105317691589

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