Everybody has heard doctors and therapists say it before–that exercising regularly is one of the best things that you can do to treat depression and make yourself feel better. Keeping your body active (exercising) releases endorphins in your brain, the chemicals that make you feel good and give you a feeling of well-being. Additionally exercising seems to have more benefits. As per a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, one of the world’s leading peer-reviewed full text publications, exercise can prevent episodes of depression in the long run.
The study shows a correlation associated with physical health and exercising. It concludes that, in addition to leading to weight loss and good physical shape, which carry many benefits in their own right, exercise is one of the leading methods of maintaining good and strong mental health as well as preventing the onset of depression later in life. This correlates and falls into place nicely with the continuously growing pile of evidence that associates obesity with depression, and comes as good news to those looking to treat these common problems found in millions of Americans.
This study is backed up by Ph.D candidate George Mammen at the University of Toronto, who has done plenty of research of his own in this field. He says that part of what makes news like this so encouraging for people like himself is that it is not a drug, but instead a natural remedy. Says Mammen “We need a prevention strategy now more than ever,”. “Our health system is taxed. We need to shift focus and look for ways to fend off depression from the start.” From what it looks like, exercise is one of, if not the most important, determining factors here.
Options for Others
But what about those who are not in the best physical condition already? If obesity truly is intertwined with depression, than it would appear that those who need exercise the most to treat their problems are those who are going to have the most difficult time actually doing it. Luckily, George Mammen has an answer to this as well. He has analyzed more than 26 years worth of research on this topic, Even simple everyday tasks that one would not normally associate with physical activity and exercise can be a part of this, such as walking or gardening for twenty to thirty minutes every day. Of course, exercise is not the only variable in situations like this, but, according to Mammen “It’s definitely worth taking note that if you’re currently active, you should sustain it. If you’re not physically active, you should initiate the habit.”
More Causes of Depression
Interestingly enough, yet another one of the causes that can be associated with depression is the food that you eat. Of course, there is the obvious fact that eating healthier foods make the body feel better than consuming generic junk food. But it also seems that food insecurity can be a factor too. This problem is seen most commonly with younger women attempting to lose weight. It involves rationing, portioning food, and the inability to eat a balanced meal. It can also be initiated by domestic violence. Plus, this could lead to a big breakthrough in this common health issue. Says Daphne Hernandez, Ph. D “What this means is that targeting issues central to women’s health must become a priority in combating food insecurity.”
It is important that depression be beaten in order to live a healthy life and vice versa.