Are Workouts and Depression Related?

Okay, long time no write. I know, but I’ve been going through some things. Now, I’m glad to say, that I’m doing better. Mentally and physically.

So, the blog title really just begs the question: are workouts and depression related? These past few months my workout have been spaced out and nearly non-existent. Oddly, enough my emotional levels have been up and down, too. Not to mention, my diet has consisted of fast foods, soda and moderately sized to large meal portions.

I believe all of that is, in fact, connected.

I did some research to back this up (because, honestly, I never knew it to be true happy-woman-after-rununtil I experienced it first hand). According to the various experts at WebMD, physical activity can improve self-esteem, because “When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins.” Those endorphins are said to trigger a positive feeling, which experts believe is something similar to that of morphine. Think “runner’s high.”

All of which makes sense. But lets dig deeper like when you start to feel sad for no reason at all. It’s something that was happening to me, and until I had an intervention with my mother, I was experiencing crazy up and down states.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic admit that although exercise is proven to help relieve anxiety and depression, there isn’t a clear link between it all. There are, however, added benefits which according to the Mayo staff includes:

  • Releasing feel good brain chemicals: neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids (all said to relieve depression)
  • Reducing immune system chemicals (said to worsen depression)
  • Increasing body temperature (said to have calming effects)

Now, the article on the Mayo Clinic website, “Depression and Anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms,” goes on to state that any type of exercise — not just gym and the obvious — can help relieve symptoms of depression. Several activities such as: washing your car, gardening or taking a simple walk around the neighborhood can all help take your mind off of the things that stress you out.

How I turn up at home when I'm about to work out!!! Image provided via Tumblr.

How I turn up at home when I’m about to work out!!!
Image provided via Tumblr.

Also, something which I haven’t mentioned, exercising makes you feel good about yourself. It’s obvious, but at one point this year, I forgot about that.

So, I’ve come to my own conclusion it’s the lack of exercise that could cause a spike in depression, however, there’s so much more that goes into being healthy with mind, body and spirit.

Next post, I will discuss the benefits of meditation and yoga. Speaking from experience, it’s not something I would’ve ever thought would make a difference, but for your mental health in my opinion “it’s all relative.”



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