Exercise and Alleviating Depression

By Michelle Ishio (Resident Post Pregnancy Rehab Specialist and Fitness Expert)

Exercise has been proven to improve depression.

Working-out can produce similar results as with medications, and if you are already on antidepressant medication, it can enhance the benefits of your medications.

The great benefit regarding exercise is that although antidepressant medication and psychotherapy can take weeks to work, you can start feeling the positive effects of exercise right away.

Research shows that exercise positively effects the same neurotransmitters that antidepressant medications target.


  • Produces brain chemicals called "endorphins," which promote the sense of well-being and satisfaction.

  • Releases tension in muscles that contributes to depression-related insomnia and muscle aches and pains.

  • Reduces the levels of the stress hormone "cortisol", which is known for causing feelings of anxiety and agitation.

Exercise can also promote the following psychological changes:

  • Confidence - By meeting a goal, you can begin to build or rebuild self-confidence and self-esteem.

  • Positive Self-Attention - Taking the time to do something positive for yourself can help you reconnect with the part of yourself that promotes positive changes, which amplifies self-confidence and self-esteem.

If you suffer from major depression, exercise probably won't be the only thing you'll need, but the great news is, it will increase the ease of success with your current treatment plan.

It might take trying several different approaches before you find what exercise preferences and schedule that will work consistently for you, but it is worth figuring out.

Remember, consistency is key, so find what will solidify the success of your discipline, which means the success of your goals.

Have a Great Work-out!



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