Physical activity offers an all-natural depression treatment. Research indicates exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, a section of the brain responsible for mood regulation. Meanwhile, the more you exercise, the better equipped you are to stimulate your neurons, releasing feel-good chemicals in the hippocampus that can combat depression symptoms.
In addition to alleviating depression symptoms, exercise provides many health benefits, including:
- Improved sleep
- Reduced blood pressure
- Protection against heart disease and diabetes
Let’s not forget about the physical and emotional benefits associated with physical activity, either. Some of the physical and emotional benefits of physical activity include:
- Increased Confidence: Exercise can help you improve your physical abilities and appearance, enabling you to feel good about how you look, leading to increased confidence.
- Social Engagement: Exercise gives you a chance to get out and meet new people, particularly if you join a gym, participate in a yoga class, or engage in any other group exercise activities.
- Healthy Coping Mechanism: Exercise provides a healthy alternative to using drugs or alcohol to cope with depression, anxiety, or other strong emotions.
Generally, performing 30 minutes of exercise three to five days a week can help alleviate depression symptoms. However, if you have not engaged in physical activity in several weeks or months, you may need to start slow and build up your strength and stamina over time. That way, you can minimize the risk of injury as you develop an exercise regimen.
Tips to Build a Successful Exercise Routine
The ideal exercise routine often varies from person to person, but there are things you can do to develop an exercise regimen that works well for you, such as:
- Meet with Your Doctor: Discuss your exercise goals with your doctor. Then, you can undergo a physical examination and work with your doctor to find activities to help you stay active and healthy.
- Consult with a Mental Health Professional: A mental health professional offers tips and recommendations to help you address your depression symptoms. Plus, he or she can help you incorporate exercise into your overall depression treatment
- Establish Realistic Goals: Rome was not built in a day, and much in the same vein, you should not expect to become a full athlete in a matter of hours. Instead, set small goals as you begin an exercise regimen. Any time you accomplish an exercise goal, establish a new goal, and you can continue this process in the upcoming days, weeks, and months.
- Understand Your Limitations: If you feel stressed about exercising, try to identify the root cause of your stress and plan accordingly. For instance, if you are concerned about others looking at you while you exercise, you can always exercise at home. Or, if you feel most comfortable exercising with a friend, you can find an exercise buddy.
- Remain Persistent: Even the most diligent individual will encounter obstacles as he or she develops an exercise regimen. Any time you encounter a roadblock, address the obstacle and try to move forward. Sticking with an exercise regimen is one of the most helpful tools you can use to put your depression symptoms in the past.
Exercise often plays an important part in a depression therapy program, but it is crucial to note that physical activity alone is insufficient to address all depression symptoms, at all times. Therefore, if you begin an exercise routine but still struggle with depression, you may want to consider one or more of the following depression treatments:
- Antidepressants: Doctors may prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), or other antidepressants to treat depression symptoms. Antidepressants sometimes cause nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and other side effects.
- Psychotherapy: Commonly referred to as talk therapy or psychological therapy, psychotherapy involves engaging with a mental health professional to understand depression symptoms. Psychotherapy may be used to help patients find ways to deal with depression symptoms, identify issues that contribute to these symptoms, or manage negative thoughts or behaviors that cause depression.
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) therapy uses magnetic pulses to stimulate neurons that have been underactive in the brain. In doing so, dTMS therapy helps reduce depression symptoms that are caused by this inactivity.
Reviewing depression resources often provides a great starting point for people who want to overcome their depression symptoms. Additionally, people who are concerned about their depression symptoms can meet with a doctor. At this time, a doctor can evaluate his or her patient and offer depression treatment insights.
The Bottom Line on Physical Activity and Depression Therapy
When it comes to depression therapy, physical activity can help you get the best results out of your therapy program. Yet running, walking, playing sports, or other physical activities alone are unlikely to help you permanently overcome depression symptoms. You may need to incorporate exercise into a comprehensive depression therapy program.
At Achieve TMS, we offer dTMS therapy that can be used in combination with exercise to treat depression symptoms. Each of our dTMS treatment sessions only requires about 20 minutes per day to perform and you can return to your daily activities immediately afterward. Also, a typical dTMS therapy program takes just a few weeks to complete, and it may help you alleviate your depression symptoms both now and well into the future.
We provide free dTMS therapy consultations as the initial stage of your treatment journey. A dTMS therapy consultation allows you to meet with our team, learn about all aspects of treatment, and gain the insights you need to decide if this treatment is right for you. To schedule a dTMS therapy consultation with us, please call or text us today at 877-822-7267.