Depression: The Only Thing That Always Helps

September 26th, 2012

There are many treatments for depression, but there is one bit of advice that is promoted universally by all the experts.  Exercise is the answer, but getting the motivation to participate is the battle that I hope to help you with.  Cynthia Smith, was kind enough to share a bit of her story about depression, and how exericse has been a huge factor in battling it.  View the powerful video below, and continue to read more.

Depression affects a great portion of our population but women are more likely to be diagnosed due to various factors that are still being studied.  Genetics can certainly be a factor, so if your family has a history of depression you may be predisposed to it.  Other factors that may be influential are the ever-changing hormone levels during menstrual cycles, pregnancy/postpartum, and menopause.

Stress can also be a huge factor that contributes to depression and women are often more predisposed as they take on additional responsibilities of care-takers for children, aging parents, or other loved ones.  Add into the mix the stress of relationships, abuse, or trauma and the likelihood of depression increases.

There are many ways to potentially help combat depression but one of the most common themes that is reflected in the research and encouraged by the medical experts is to exercise.  Exercise not only helps you physiologically with changes to the body, but it also helps you psychologically with changes to your outlook. A study from Duke University has shown that while people who take anti-depressants had a quicker improvement in depression, 16 weeks later there was no difference in depression scale scores with those that exercised alone.  This is something to consider given the number of side effects that antidepressants can cause.  Of course, I am only citing a study and any changes in medication should be done under the care of your doctor.

So how do we get you in the gym if you are depressed and just don’t want to go?  I feel you will need someone to be accountable to, but it also needs to be someone supportive, someone who will be positive and instill positive habits in your lifestyle, and someone who can give you instant gratification that you are doing something to improve your own physical and mental well-being at the time you need it most.  This can be a loved one, a workout partner, or in the case of Cynthia Smith, a personal trainer.

Even the most successful self-driven individuals have a personal trainer, so someone who is depressed and wants to isolate themselves needs one even more.  I am not trying to sell you on my profession, if you know a better way to increase your commitment to exercise please share it, but I have seen the success stories repeatedly and know it works. “I feel so much better, I am glad I came”, is what I hear every single time.

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