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Benefits of Exercise to Help With Depression

By Jane Hurst

When you are feeling down or depressed you can help boost your mood with exercise. When you are anxious or depressed you tend to sit around and feel unhappy. You need a boost of energy and a reason to go outside again. It has been proven medically that exercise helps with your mental health and your mood. Exercise will help you get outside and leave your depression behind. You will feel better and be stronger. Here are eight health benefits of exercise...

  1. Anxiety - Exercise helps relieve anxiety by boosting mental and physical energy, releasing endorphins, and relieving stress. You will get a natural energy boost when you exercise that will help your body relieve tension and stress while making your body stronger.
  2. Running - Running can help boost your mood and relieve your stress. Start out by jogging and then build up to whatever makes you happy. While you may not feel energetic when you are depressed you can boost your energy by building up how far and how fast you run. The more time you put into running the less stressed you will feel.
  3. Depression - Exercise can help you fight depression and relapses. Exercise will help with neural growth and endorphin release. Endorphins are a natural chemical that help you feel good. Exercise is a quick way to release endorphins to help your body and mind feel better faster. You will also be concentrating more on your exercising and less on your depressive feelings.
  4. Dancing - Dancing is a great exercise that has quite a few benefits. You will be moving and building up your strength and releasing endorphins. You will also be in a social setting with people who enjoy the same things as you do. A beginners bachata class will encourage socialization and give you a great reason to get up from the couch and get out of the house. You will feel better and have fun exercising and getting to know people.
  5. Confidence - The more you exercise the better you will be. You will run farther and trip less when dancing. This will help build up your self confidence which will improve your mental health. Do not be embarrassed when you first start exercising. Everyone has to start somewhere. Pay attention to how much you are lifting or how far you are running or biking. The more you exercise the better you will be.
  6. Energy - the more you exercise the more energy you will have to tackle stress in your everyday life. Anxiety can be crippling, but if you have the stamina and energy to fight it you will win that battle. Exercising daily will help build up your strength reserves which will help with depression. The stronger and more confident you are the less depressed and anxious you will feel. You will lose weight and get stronger. This energy will be beneficial in helping you battle stress and stress related illnesses.
  7. Sleep - One of the biggest problems with anxiety and depression is your lack of sleep. When you start off a day tired it is easy to feel anxious and depressed. Little things will stress you out more and you will feel like curling up in a ball. Exercise will help you sleep better. You will feel more awake and happy when you wake up and start your day. Exercise can help you develop better sleeping patterns which will help you chase your anxiety and depression away.
  8. Outdoor activities - Skiing, hiking, kayaking, and other sports are great exercise. You can be outside instead of in your house enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. More exposure to outside sports will help you deal with your depression. You will strengthen your muscles and mind while enjoying the natural world. Go out and hike up a nature trail alone or with some friends. Kayak some rapids with a group of people who are just as risk taking as you are. Get out and dee the world and kick anxiety to the curb.

Take the time to find out what exercise you will enjoy. Get out and discover things in nature you may have missed. Find time to workout with friends and meet new people around town while you drive your anxiety away. The more you get out and live your life the less depressed you will feel. Get up off the couch and dance around the room to some pop music. Join a dance studio and feel more flexible and stronger every day. Take control of your depression and anxiety. Let exercise help you feel better both mentally and physically. You will feel happier and want to be outside with friends more often when you exercise. This will help you get rid of depressive thoughts and feelings. Feel better and look better with exercise that you enjoy.

Jane Hurst is a writer, editor and avid traveler from San Francisco. Contact her at

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