Exercise and Depression

There definitely is a strong link between exercise and depression. A recent study conducted on older women at the University of Calgary (J. of Neurobiology and Aging, Dec/08) supports the fact that physical fitness helps the brain to function at an optimal level.

Dr. Marc Poulin tested a random sample of 42 women whose average age was 65 years-old. The benefits of aerobic exercise were examined with modern technology.

The resting brain flow, reserve capacity of blood and cognitive functions were measured and showed significant improvement in the exercising group as compared to the inactive women.

Even though it was a very scientific study, it only confirmed what everyone believes anyway: there are benefits to exercise.

The Motivation Problem

For those of us who are physically active, we can easily recall feeling mentally pumped after a bout of strenuous exercise. Unfortunately, for many others, the chronically inactive, these memories don’t exist at all.

There are two unfit men jogging on thread mills, side by side, in a gym. Although both are suffering discomfort, one is in an ecstatic state and the other is in genuine pain, mentally and physically. The runner in pain has not been to the gym in many years.

The joyful and enthusiastic one is working out vigorously even though it has been six months since he last exercised and six months since he considered himself to be fit.

Why would there be such a remarkable difference between the two?

My explanation is that the joyful runner has a much stronger memory of what it feels like to be really fit. He is, therefore, extremely motivated to reach that state again. The short term pain and discomfort means very little to him.

Because he has forgotten what physical fitness actually feels like, the other jogger is much less motivated to continue and will probably drop out even though, intellectually, he would agree that there are many reasons to exercise.

So how does this relate to exercise and depression?

An analogy can be drawn between this lack of motivation and someone in a depressive state.

People who are depressed may have lost the concept of what a non-depressive or normal state of mind is.

And this is why it can be so difficult to start exercising when you have forgotten what you should be striving for. This may occur even though such a person would be in agreement that there are benefits to exercise and that regular exercise can have a very positive effect on the mind.

He might agree that there is a link between exercise and depression, but, nevertheless, he has difficulty in getting motivated to begin.

Two suggestions:

1. Start with 3-5 minute walks

It is commonly suggested that you start walking for about 30 minutes per day. This immediately would seem like hard work to someone who is not a regular exerciser.

A 3-5 minute simple exercise done, for instance, five time per day is a lot more achievable than getting yourself psyched up for a thirty-minute hike.

2. Get more energy with nutritional cleansing and detoxing

If your organs of eliminations are all clogged up from chemically saturated food and environmental toxins, it is going to have a detrimental effect on your mind.

A gentle cleanse, followed by flooding the body with a restoring nutritional combination of protein, fats, minerals, antioxidants, adaptogens and vitamins, will give you that extra desire and all-important energy to start exploiting the connection between exercise and depression.

(There are many excellent nutritional and cleansing solutions available commercially)

You have to eat anyway, so why not include some type of cleansing program in your routine? Proper exercise and diet are two of the natural remedies for depression.

Depression is complex, but we can reduce its negative effects greatly by working on the body first in a positive way and then influence the mind as a result.