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Fighting Depression? Grab Your Sneakers to Get Moving

By Sandy Schroeder

We live in a complex society that can trigger depression. Sometimes the demands of the day, at home and at work, bring us down. New research says exercise can help.

What Exercise Can Do

Dr. Drew Ramsey, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, Columbia University, says emerging research finds exercise helps fight depression in some people. When Dr.Ramsey evaluates patients struggling with depression he finds exercise can be a key factor. Dr. Ramsey studied 33,000 people for more than 11 years and found these results.

  • If adults exercised a little over an hour a week, 10 to 12 percent of clinical depression could be prevented
  • Adults exercising an hour a week were 44 percent less likely to be depressed
  • Ninety minutes of exercise weekly helped prevent depression

Another British study that lasted 10 months found exercise helped twice as many people get better and stay better, compared to those who only used prescribed medications. 

What Exercise Can Mean for Us 

Exercise appears to be one more way to help fight depression. You may agree if you feel better when you keep your daily date with 30 minutes of walking. More research will be needed to pinpoint what exercise can do to help depression, but it definitely invites a trial run.

  • Book 30 minutes of walking into your daily schedule and keep the date
  • Make every weekend an active one hiking, biking or camping.
  • Start the day with a brief stretching routine or walk
  • Add some exercise to lunch and daily breaks
  • Get up and move every hour that you sit at work
  • Walk or bike instead of driving whenever you can
  • Take the stairs and hold walking meetings at work
  • Keep up with your kids as you walk the dog or run to the park
  • Turn household tasks into exercise as you vacuum, mop or trim bushes
  • Keep moving in the evenings instead of collapsing on the couch
  • Add workout mats and a treadmill to your TV viewing area
  • When you travel use hotel gyms and pack a yoga mat
  • Stand rather than sit whenever you can

Dr.Ramsey emphasized exercise alone is not a replacement for good mental health treatment. He said therapy and psychoanalysis are important. Exercise is one aspect of a complex issue that may be worth a try.

If you continue to fight depression you may want to see your doctor and a psychologist to work through the issues.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Seal Beach.

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