Mar 2017 25

Exercise & depression

By: Dave Wheeler

It's pretty well known by now that around 1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer from some  sort  of mental illness at some point in their lives.

At any one time, it seems that just under 10% of people fit  the medical definition of depression.

If you're one of them, here are 3 good reasons to exercise:


1. Exercise reduces stress

Exercise increases the production of endorphins in your brain. Endorphins are stress & "blues" inhibitors.

Of course, a good workout also acts as a distraction from  the rest  of  the world.


2. Exercise improves your mood

Though we're not really sure of the mechanism, exercise increases  the level of serotonin (a naturally occurring chemical in the brain). It's the brain' natural "Happy Drug".

Aerobic exercise, like running, seems to boost serotonin the most.


3. Exercise can help you sleep better

It's kind of obvious, but if you knacker yourself out exercising,  you're more likely to get a better nights sleep.

According to the Sleep Foundation, poor sleep is common amongst those who are depressed. When you're permanently tired through lack of sleep, it's hard to think straight.

So exercise  can play it's part in helping.


Just be careful - if you haven't exercised for a while, build up slowly... don't just throw yourself  in at full pelt.  That'd just be  asking for  injury.

A  good place to  start, or to re-start,  is the Couch  to 5K running programme which has  been really popular.

Happy exercising!