The Mayo Clinic, WebMD, Psycology Today, and Washu (hey that’s me!) say that working out (especially cardio) can ease the symptoms of depression. How this works (I think) is that the increased heart rate causes your body to release endorphins which hang out in two receptors of your brain; the pleasure center and pain receptors. Ever been playing too rough an hurt a couple of hours from them or even the next day? Or in my case take a beating at a Martial Arts Tournament, anyway… That was all because of endorphins! It also could be Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression, and/or Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects. Either way you feel better about yourself and you are building that inner Savage.
The Mayo Clinic also says:
Regular exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits, too. It can help you:
- Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
- Take your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
- Get more social interaction. Exercise and physical activity may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood.
- Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how badly you feel, or hoping anxiety or depression will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms.
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