Can Exercise Help You Overcome Depression?

Can Exercise Help You Overcome Depression?

Thoughts From a Vancouver Therapist

If you’ve been dealing with feelings of depression, you may have talked with your doctor or another professional about what you’re feeling. Perhaps he or she encouraged you to get some exercise as a way to combat thoughts of depression. This is a common recommendation, but today I’d like to talk about why it’s a common recommendation, and I’d like to answer the question, Can exercise really help you overcome depression?

Let’s Define Exercise

When you’re depressed, even thinking about getting out of bed in the morning can present some real challenges. So, as we begin to talk about exercise, I’d like to clarify what I mean. We’re not talking about you being able to run a marathon, or lifting hundreds of pounds in the gym. There are many different forms of exercise, and it’s important for you to find something you like, and that you can do comfortably. It’s also important to remember that you’ll probably want to start out small. Even if you take a walk for five minutes a day, and then slowly add on to your time, you’re getting in some exercise. It’s going to benefit you, even if it’s just a little bit.

The Science Behind Exercise

Exercise improves the flow of oxygen and blood to your brain. It also releases endorphins in your body, which are your body’s natural feel-good chemicals. These results work together to naturally battle the depression you’re experiencing. The great thing about exercise is that, unlike medications that are designed to fight depression, you don’t have to worry about any strange side effects. That’s a good thing!

What Results Can I Expect?

Everyone’s results are going to be different, of course. However, there have been studies done on the effects of exercise on depression, and you’ll be happy to know that some people have experienced a decrease in their levels of depression by as much as 47 percent. Try to work up to being able to do something active for at least 30 minutes a day. Whether you meet up with a friend and take a walk together, or you do some cleaning in your house, or gardening in your back yard. Anything you can do to get moving is going to have a positive effect on how you feel.

As a therapist in Vancouver, I work with many clients who are dealing with the effects of depression. It can be difficult to start an exercise program, however once you do, you’ll almost immediately start to feel a little bit better. I can help you build upon those feelings, and when coupled with counselling, you’ll find that overcoming depression is possible, after all.

If you would like to talk with me about how I can help you in your battle against depression, I would love to help you. Please contact me today.


*Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici,

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