What can exercises do to get you out of depression?

This article will explain in what ways exercise can improve how you feel when you are depressed. Not only that, the article will explain what depression is, and what are some forms of exercises you can do that can impact your hormone levels and your mood.

What exercises can be done to improve your depression? 

If you are going through depression, exercising can be a powerful weapon against it. You may want to take part in an exercise routine, or even just move around in your daily life. 

It might be hard to start, even more so when you are depressed, but keep in mind that putting exercise in your life is a process. Start small, and with time you can do more. This is what you can do.

Go for a run 

The exercise that seems to have the biggest benefit on your mental health is running. You may have heard about the runners high, this great feeling runners get when they are done. By running, you can get a rush of endorphins which can help decrease your perception of pain, and also make you feel good.

It is said that if you practice running from 3 to 5 days a week, for around 30 minutes, you can feel a huge improvement in your depressive symptoms. But it may seem hard to start with a 30-minute run. So you can do it for around 10-20 minutes at first.

Lift some weights 

Lifting weights can be an important way for people with mild and moderate depression to cope. This is because once you are focused on doing that, you might not have a lot of space left to focus on the negative thoughts depression brings to your mind. Lifting weights can also give you a great sense of accomplishment. 

Turn to Yoga 

Yoga can have a lot of benefits when you are depressed. It is a great way to move your body, but also to practice mindfulness, which allows you to move past your negative thoughts. But not only that, it allows you to learn to breathe better. That will reduce your stress level, along with your symptoms of depression.

Get those Tai Chi movements 

Along with Yoga, the slow movements of Tai Chi will allow you to focus on your breathing, and move away from negative thoughts.

Go on walks or take your pet on one 

Going for a walk is something that pretty much anyone can do. You may want to do it by yourself, or sometimes you can take your pet for a walk as a way to motivate yourself. You may start with a 5 or 10 minutes walk and go from there.

Start gardening

A good way to keep moving, even when you don’t want to work out, is gardening. This is something that asks you for aerobic effort, but also strength. Aside from that, gardening can be something to motivate you, and also give you a sense of achievement as you see your garden turning into something beautiful.

Why can exercises get you out of depression?

Depression can affect every aspect of a person’s life. It can make it hard for people to do simple things such as getting out of bed. And it has been proven that depression is extremely related to the levels of hormones and neurotransmitters a person has.

When depressed, the stress hormones, such as cortisol are extremely high. And the ones responsible for the good mood, and sense of well-being, such as serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin are low.

The lack of those can make it harder for you to have the will and motivation to do anything. Causing them to feel worse and worse. And through the years, doctors have found ways for people to cope with depression. Nowadays antidepressants are being used to get a hold of those hormone levels. 

But that isn’t possible only through medication. You can improve your hormone levels through the food you eat, and by exercising. This can have a huge impact on your mood, and sense of well-being. So nowadays doctors have often prescribed exercise for people with depression.

But before understanding what exercises you can do to cope with depression, let’s learn a little more about the condition.

What is depression? 

Depression is a mental health condition that affects around 5% of the world’s population. It can make the person experience intense sadness. But not only that, it causes the person to lose their sense of purpose, feel empty, and lose interest even in things they used to love.

This condition can also make you feel hopeless and have constant negative thoughts. Aside from that, it makes it harder for you to focus, and it makes you feel less energetic and more fatigued. Depression also impacts your eating and sleeping patterns.

It makes you more irritable, and isolated. It causes you to feel guilty, and ashamed. As it also lowers your self-esteem and makes your sense of self-worth also decline. And even though those are the most common symptoms of depression, not everyone will experience it in the same way.

But for a person to be diagnosed as depressed, they need to experience its symptoms intensely for more than 2 weeks. Depression can be caused by many factors. It may be related to a chemical imbalance in the person’s brain, or even to genetic factors.

This means that if you have a family history of depression, it might be easier for you to get depressed. It also happens when a person experiences a traumatic situation. It can be the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or even going through a financial or legal problem.

But there are some exercises you can do to improve from depression. Let’s discuss what they are.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What can exercises do to get you out of depression? 

What are the signs of emotional stress? 

Emotional stress can not only affect your emotions but also physically. It uses you to experience difficulty breathing, or you can breathe fast. Your heart rate and blood pressure will go up. You can feel like your muscles are tensing up, Your teeth are clenching, and you may experience headaches.

You may feel tired, or dizzy, and you may lose or gain weight due to how your eating habits change. You may experience a spectrum of gastrointestinal problems, some may experience diarrhea, others constipation. As for the emotional aspect, you can feel more worried than you would be normally. 

Things can seem overwhelming to you, and you might have trouble with memory, and making decisions. Some people, when they are going through stress may start to turn to alcohol, or even drugs as ways to feel better, which can lead to an addiction.

Does my brain recover after I get better from depression?

Yes, your brain will get better a while after you have started to feel better. When you are depressed, you have a lower circulation of some hormones, and neurotransmitters such as serotonin. But others, such as cortisol are higher. Some areas of your brain, such as the hippocampus can shrink when you are depressed.

But there is a quality to our brain that is called plasticity. This means that it can adjust back to things. And as you improve, those neurotransmitters, and hormones start flowing properly in your brain, your brain will begin to recover. And even though this is a slow process, your cognitive functions will improve little by little.

What are the group ages that have a higher risk of developing depression?

According to the CDC, the agency that cares for the health of the United States, people in the group aged 18 and 29 have a higher risk of getting depressed, being 21% of them depressed. They are followed by people in the age group between 45 and 64, with18,4% of cases of depression. 

The same rate is seen in people that are over 65, and finally, people between 30 and 44 years old. In this age group, 16,8% of the people are depressed. With this data, it is important to have in mind how depression has mostly impacted younger people. This should make us question what are ways to cope with and prevent depression. 

Does depression change my personality?

No, depression doesn’t change your personality traits. It can change your behaviors and emotions. You may act differently at that moment because depression makes you think differently. 

For example, you may have been a person that has always been extremely active. But once you feel depressed, you may lose your energy and feel constantly tired. But as soon as you improve from your depressive episode, you will go back to being that active person.

Does depression affect my whole body?

Yes, depression has an impact on your overall health. It not only acts on your emotions, but it also affects your hormone levels, such as cortisol, that are present when you are stressed. Having too many of them can impact your immune system, and this makes it harder for your body to fight infection.

What is the key to how depression affects your body is how it changes you. You may have insomnia when you are depressed, and this can also impact your immune system. Or you may not eat properly, which can bring many other illnesses, for example, it has been connected with heart conditions and diabetes.

Depression can also affect how people handle pre-existing health conditions. For example, it is quite common for people with cancer to get depressed. But depending on how serious their depression is, it can be harder for them to take care of themselves, and follow through with the cancer treatment. 

Does depression affect my IQ?

It can be that depression affects your IQ. In studies that have analyzed the performance on an intelligence test of depressed people and people without depression, it was discovered that the verbal intelligence of the participants is not that different if they have depression, or if they don’t. 

But the performance IQ is lower in people with depression. But it was also discovered that when the person is improving from depression, there is a high chance that their IQ level will recover, showing once again, the plasticity of the person’s brain, that can recover once they recover from depression.


This article discussed how exercising can impact you when you are depressed. It showed how exercising can impact your mood and hormone levels. Along with that, it explained what depression is, and what exercises you can do to improve your depression.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.





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