How to Fight Depression With Exercise, and Increase Your Happiness

fight depression

Why Exercise?

People exercise for different reasons. To lose weight. Or build muscle. For fun maybe. But for me, it is essential to my mental well being. It is one of the ways I am trying to fight depression.

I began exercising regularly a little over a month ago and I am loving it. Exercising has helped me have more energy to keep my house clean and play with the kids more. I have been cooking more meals and sticking to routines better. Best of all, I feel happy most of the time, despite some challenges.

Keeping Exercise Simple

Establishing a simple exercise routine is the key to sticking with it. There are tons of apps, work out videos, etc to help you keep things simple. I work in the evening, so I am home in the morning and have ample time to exercise. Others may not be this lucky. It may be necessary to get up early in order to exercise or fit into some other part of your day.

You can either pick a certain time of day and stick with it or fit in the work out whenever possible. Starting a new habit is the hardest part. Once the habit is established it is much easier to stick with it.

Why I love home workouts

I really enjoy home workouts. I love that I can just pull up a video on youtube and start my work out. It is easy to be committed to. It doesn’t take long. Even if I worked in the morning, it would be possible to squeeze in a 20 minute home work out. The videos that I use the most come from Team body project (this is the youtube channel). It is a collection of mostly low impact fun exercises that get you moving. These are great for me because I have bad knees/hip. The best part is that it is FREE. Well, unless you want a personalized plan (which they do).

Her is another post I wrote about home exercise: 6 reasons why home exercise is

awesome

Gyms are cool too

I also enjoy going to the gym with my husband. It is fun to spend time together as a couple while we improve our overall health. I have gotten good at basically tuning out the other people because it is so easy to compare yourself to everyone else. What I like about the gym is that everyone there is working on improving themselves. Each person is on a different level, but the main goal of why we are there is the same. My husband prefers the gym because he uses the weights to work different muscle groups each day. I do some cardio for about 30 minutes and then join him where ever he is at. Going to the gym is a bigger time commitment than my at home exercises but it is nice to spend one on one time with my husband (They have a daycare for the kiddos).

Pick your favorite exercise and go for it!

Now, there a plenty of other ways to exercise if these don’t appeal to you. Pick your favorite sport, go walking or jogging. Buy a cheap elliptical or treadmill(keyword cheap, haha). Buy some DVDs/VHS work out videos if you don’t have internet. Dance! Zumba is a little too complicated for me but it is tons of fun! Swimming, water aerobics(which means you need a gym I guess). There has to be some type of exercise that may sound fun to you. It may be really hard at first but to me doing hard things builds character 😉

Stop making excuses

I used to like jogging, I guess I still do, but my knees and body don’t. I also hate running in the cold. In the past, these were excuses that I would make to not exercise in the winter. I also found it hard to go jogging in the summer too though because both my kids were home and my husband wasn’t always. I finally bought a double jogger but it was still too hard to push two kids in. This obviously lead to more excuses. This is not how exercise has to be. Keeping things simple and enjoyable makes it easier to commit to. So find what makes you happy and stick to it!

Research that supports using exercise as a treatment for depression

There has been a lot of research on the topic of using exercise as a treatment for depression. I found this information by doing a google search using “can exercise help fight depression?” and other variants and came up with lots of results. This was enough for me to give it a try. Now, I’ll be honest, my depression has not been officially diagnosed. I have had counseling on a couple different occasions but didn’t find it super helpful. I wanted to try exercising for a while to see if it would help me. I am not saying that you should quit taking medication if you need it. Or put off seeing a doctor if you are suffering from depression. Here is a screening tool if you need it.

Go for it! What do you have to lose?

Exercising has been so helpful for me. I have so much more motivation to get things done around the house, despite still being tired. I am generally happier and am less tired than I was before I started exercising. This last month has been so great. I finally feel alive again! I almost feel like an entirely new person. Exercise works for me. Let me know how it has helped you in the comments. Thanks for reading and happy exercising!

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