More threads by Cat Dancer

Exercise and Depression
by: Paige Waehner,

Get up and get moving!
Depression can be one of the most debilitating experiences in life. It makes you tired, so tired you want to go to bed and never get up. It can be a challenge to pull yourself out of that dark hole. Seeing your doctor should always be your first step in dealing with depression, but there are some ways you can deal with depression on a daily basis. Though it may seem impossible, exercise is one of the best ways to deal with depression.

Exercise and Depression

Depression is one of the most common problems people experience today, but it's also very treatable with medication, therapy and other self-help options. But, have you ever considered exercise as part of your treatment? Study after study has shown that exercise is a helpful way to treat depression because it:

  • Increases your sense of mastery which can help for people who don't feel in control of their lives and moods
  • Increases self-esteem
  • Provides a distraction from your worries
  • Improves your health and body, which can help lift your mood
  • Helps you get rid of built-up stress and frustration
  • Helps you sleep better, which can often be a problem when you're depressed

It may seem impossible to get moving when you feel depressed but that's exactly what you have to do. No matter how tired you feel, getting up and moving around can bring some immediate relief to your symptoms and getting in a little exercise is an excellent way to work off some of that added stress you're carrying around.

Keep It Simple

The problem with depression is that it makes you feel like you have no energy. Even getting out of bed can take a monumental effort, so it may be hard to imagine exercising at all when you're depressed. No matter what your thoughts are telling you, it really is possible to exercise when you're depressed. If you take some simple steps, you can add a little activity to your day to help lift your mood and work through your depression.

  • Set simple goals. You don't have to train for a marathon. Set a goal to get dressed and walking around the block. Promise yourself you'll walk around the block at least 3 times that day. The next day, do more. Try to improve just a little bit each day.
  • Go easy on yourself. You might not be able to handle a lot of exercise, so try to feel good about what you CAN do. Now is not the time to kick yourself!
  • Do what you enjoy. If yoga feels good to you, spend a few minutes going through your favorite poses. If you usually enjoy they gym, get your bag packed and hit the treadmill. Even if you're not enjoying it right now, eventually you will.
  • Make it social. Try to find a friend to walk with. Talking to people can help raise your energy and remind you that you're not alone.
  • Go outside. Even a little bit of sunshine can help raise your mood a little. Try to get outside and get some fresh air, remind yourself there's a world out there and you can participate in it as much as you can handle.
  • Work with your doctor. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your treatment options and your plans to exercise. He or she may be able to refer you to someone who can help you set up an exercise program.

Whatever you do, don't give up. You're not alone and you aren't doomed to feel this way forever. Try to participate in life as much as you can, even if it doesn't feel good. Sometimes you have to do what's right for yourself and wait for the good feelings to come later. Exercise can be a big help with your moods and the sense of accomplishment can add a new dimension to your day--something you can be proud of and feel good about. For more help with depression, visit our Depression Guide's informative site.


Geat article Janet... i can remember not wanting to get out of bed... because of my depresion
but i did and it was okay. I have to remember tho to go for a walk someting i used to love to do a long time ago.

thank you for the article and reminders on exercising to self help ourselves thru depression.

I used to love to go for walks too.

I think just getting out and doing something like that helps me feel like I accomplished something and that is something that depression has robbed from me. I hope to get that back eventually.



Janet, i was thinking now that you have A. at a stage that she will enjoy being in her buggy, you have no real excuse for not going for walks every now and again, A. Will love looking around at all the diff colors and trees flowers etc. So she can be a reason for you to get out more. and the fresh air will be good for both of ye.

go for it ok. :)

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