Gym Therapy - Depression Part One

Depression is a hell of a disease. It's a mind-numbing and a vicious cycle that ends up making you more depressed. Traditionally it has been treated with therapy and anti-depressants, but recently there have been some studies correlating the benefits of exercise to combat depression.

Various surface level findings have led to researchers' decision to pursue the correlation of exercise and overall well being. Basically since you feel good after exercising, some people wanted to figure out why/how.

The traditional explanation has been endorphins. When you exercise endorphins are released in the brain which help to activate opioid receptors in the brain to release pain/stimulate feelings of euphoria.

Or in short they make you feel good.

So that's great, if you exercise you feel good, which naturally would be a good thing for those impacted by depression, but specifically there are other reasons why depression can be treated with exercise. One of those being that opioid receptor I was talking about earlier.

Antidepressants are drugs that have different classes and, generally speaking, they block serotonin re-uptake. This is one way to treat depression, but not all prescriptions work for all patients. Psychiatrist Anna Fels has speculated that certain opioid use, like that experienced when exercising, could be beneficial for other forms of depression.

Moving forward, exercise actively promotes neural growth in the brain. It creates new reward pathways to feelings like calmness and well being. This is the kind of solace that I spoke of in my last post, that calmness of mind which can be found in the gym or on the mat like in yoga.

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Next time I'll expand more on how focus, calmness and schedule in exercise can help with depression, but in the mean time what do you think? Has this post been helpful, or are you unsure what to do with the info? Please comment or reach out with any questions or feedback you may have, I'd love to help!