Within the UK, depression is an extremely prevalent illness – approximately one in ten people will experience depression at some time in their life. The exact number of people suffering depression is difficult to estimate as many people don’t seek help and therefore remain officially undiagnosed with the illness.
There is good news for all those sufferers, a recent study has concluded that exercise can alleviate and in some cases eradicate the symptoms of depression. A review of scientific literature strongly suggests that a correlation exists between exercise and good mental health. It is suggested that physical exercise can reduce the symptoms of depression as well as improving our ability to cope with stress.
Scientists have tried to establish the physiological mechanisms that are responsible for the mood-raising effect that exercise has. Among the current theories, there are those researchers that have indicated that the endorphin and the monoamine systems may have a significant role in the process. Moreover, brain dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin activity may also play a part in stabilising or elevating the mood – consequently alleviating the symptoms of depressive illnesses.
As well as flooding your brain with natural neuro-chemicals that can improve your mood, taking part in physical activities provides loads of opportunities. It’s an excellent way of meeting people and forming friendships, helping you to overcome the feelings of isolation often associated with depression. Leading an active life can help raise your self-esteem and improve your self-confidence helping you to feel valued and of course to value yourself.
Exercise or being active doesn’t have to mean a trip to the gym, pounding the pavement jogging or wearing spandex. There are many ways that people can be active – and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Try regular brisk walking, blow the dust off your bicycle and take it out for a spin or a regular spot of gardening can be very therapeutic. Whichever activity you decide on make sure that it is something that you enjoy and look forward to doing. Indulging in an activity that you don’t enjoy could well be counter-productive.