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How Excercise Combats Depression

Depression in Today's World 

In today's society, depression has become a leading cause of a downfall in the quality of life. People are more stressed, miserable, and unhappy because of a sharp rise in depression. 

In the U.S. alone, 25 percent of individuals suffer from depression, while 10 percent of people in the U.K. have been diagnosed with it. 

Depression usually goes unnoticed by people, and it is often mistaken for mood swings or hormonal changes. It is not taken as seriously as it should be, the number of people suffering from depression all over the world is staggering, and most of the time people suffer silently. 

This is mainly because, unlike other mental illnesses and disorders, depression is not seen as a dangerous illness. Many people brush it aside as something which will go away on its own. 

Due to the stigmas surrounding depression, people resort to over the counter medication or other dangerous alternatives. Some people don't even reach out to friends or family members or counselors because they are afraid of judgment and ridicule. 

Symptoms of Depression 

People have reported feeling a large variety of symptoms, both mentally and physically. The physical symptoms usually include dull aches, headaches, nausea, upset stomach, vomiting, and weakness. 

The mental symptoms often include a sense of sadness and loneliness, feeling detached, disassociating from the body, not being aware of surroundings, and general lack of will to do anything. 

The symptoms of depression may vary from individual to individual, but some factors remain the same. Those suffering from depression usually feel unable to work or continue with typical day to day activities. They feel tired, numb, and mentally drained. Some people may also feel a sense of loss and misery.

Depression renders some people completely useless, and it is due to these factors that many people end up taking their own lives. It has become a leading cause of suicide, and as it increases in society, more and more people are resorting to cheap, dangerous methods to treat it, which only worsens the condition. 

Causes of Depression 

The real reason for depression remains a mystery. Depression can be caused due to a tragic event taking place in someone's life, usually the loss of a loved one or an accident. 

It can also be caused because of failures in life. Stress at work and overworking also contribute to depression. 

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is also known for causing depression. People who have had a traumatic past, who have gone through sexual abuse, violence, or any other form of trauma are also often diagnosed with depression. 

Many researchers also believe that the technology available to us in the modern world creates a disconnect, and people are becoming more lonely. People are losing valuable connections with friends and family, due to which onset of depression starts settling in. 

However, despite the staggering numbers and the numerous causes, there is no proper cure, but there are methods through which people can get relief from depression, and one way is exercising. Several studies have found a link between depression and exercise. 

Exercise as a Natural Depression Cure 

In a study conducted in 1999, it was shown that depressed adults who participated in aerobic exercises displayed improvement in their overall health and mood. Over the years, the research has become more compelling, and physicians and doctors are recommending exercise as a treatment to their patients. 40 percent of individuals reported that their physician-prescribed exercise as a form of therapy. 

Exercise is considered a more organic method of curing depression. Exercise is a natural antidepressant. Many patients, unfortunately, rely on medication to feel better.  

Even though the results of pills are quick, they are short-termed and often lead to dependency and several side effects such as headaches, weight gain, liver damage. Exercise, on the other hand, is not only useful for the body in the long term but is far more natural than the chemical options.  

How Does Exercise Reduce Depression? 

It is not precisely known why exercise has proven so effective against depression, but there are some theories. Exercising releases endorphins in the body, natural chemicals which act as painkiller or morphine. When released in the body, they have an overall positive effect making the person feel happy, stress-free, and healthier. 

Another theory suggests that exercise boosts norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that affects mood and, similar to antidepressants, helps the brain grow more neurons, causing more positive, happy emotions. 

As can be seen, exercise affects the body in such a way that it becomes equipped to fight depression. It overcomes the effects of depression and replaces them with positive changes. 

How Does Exercise Combat Depression? 

Depression makes people lazy and lethargic. When affected by depression, people usually can't find the will to live a proper, healthy life and find it challenging to stay positive. Exercise counters these effects by releasing chemicals in the body which cancel out negative emotions. 

Exercise energizes the body and fights the laziness; it makes the person more active and gives them more of a drive to get up and be more productive. 

Exercises for Depression 

Several exercises can prove to be very helpful to people with depression. They can either choose a high-intensity workout or a milder option such as walking or jogging. But there are many other facets of exercising as well. 

Any form of physical activity can prove useful, for example, dancing, spinning classes, Yoga and cycling are all activities which can help with depression while also being fun outdoor activities. 

Aerobic Exercises 

Jogging, walking, and hiking are great exercises for relieving depression. Even a 15 to 20 minutes walk can prove to be effective in increasing health and mood. Biking and hiking are not only good for muscles but also excellent for mental health. 

A peaceful stroll through the park or mountain trail can lift up a person's mood and help them explore more of the outside world instead of staying at home all day. 


Cycling is also an excellent form of exercise. Cycling allows people to use all of their muscles, and it provides a powered workout needed for people with a significant case of depression. 

Cycling not only works on the muscles, but it is also useful as an interactive exercise, it allows people to go outside and get some fresh air, and they may even join a cycling group. The advantages of cycling are numerous, and it can be the perfect replacement for regular exercising. 


Dancing is a fun, innovative way to fight depression. Joining a dance class or even dancing at home is not only more enjoyable but provides the energy needed to forget the stress and gloominess. Joining a dance class with friends is highly recommended as it can help patients to not only interact with others but also find comfort. 

Meditative Yoga 

Yoga is another peaceful, fun activity that has proven useful for a lot of people. Several yoga exercises not only help put the mind to ease but allows people with depression to reflect on their day and feel more at peace with themselves. 

Meditative Yoga is especially useful for fighting the sadness and misery and allows patients to have a calmer outlook on life. 

Going to the Gym 

Joining a gym is another excellent way to treat depression. A gym not only has several options in regards to the type of exercises that can be done, but it is also a public setting. 

It forces people to get out and interact. The gym also offers a wide variety of activities, which is useful for those who get tired of sticking to the same routine and require more stimulation to continue with exercising. 

Exercise Buddy 

In addition to the above exercises, finding an exercise buddy can be immensely advantageous for people with depression. Having someone to exercise with is a great way to feel safe, it can help with socialization and motivate people to continue with their exercise routine. 

Cons of Exercising 

Although there are several advantages to using exercise to treat depression, there are some obstacles present. Exercising can be a difficult task for those with disabilities or those suffering from chronic back or leg pain. 

Often it can be challenging to motivate people to take up exercise as a viable cure for depression, many may not believe in its effects, or just simply refuse. 

Another downside of exercise is that it requires time. Trying to find the appropriate time for exercising can be difficult for those with busy schedules. Usually, due to a lack of time and interest, people abandon exercising all together. 

However, though it may be difficult for some people to get into the routine of exercising, once they start, the effects are undeniable. Several patients have praised the feeling of revitalization and freshness, which is triggered after exercising. The results undoubtedly show how many people are satisfied with exercise as a cure for depression. 

Overall verdict on depression 

Compared to the unnatural options available to people with depression, which not only cause harm to the body but have several side effects that outweigh the benefits, exercise appears as a free and simple cure. 

Of course, exercise will not get rid of the depression after one session. Still, over time, the positive changes that are brought on after exercising will overpower the symptoms of depression. 

People will gradually start feeling better, as exercising will help them to get a new outlook on life and feel emotionally and physically stronger. 

Even physicians and doctors recognize the link between exercising and depression and prescribe exercise as a treatment. The result from those who have used exercise to treat depression is solid proof that exercise is not just a myth but a real solution. 

Exercising has always been useful for humans, no matter the condition. Its effects on the body and mind are undeniable, and it serves as the perfect cure for depression.

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