Depression and Anxiety: Exercise Eases Symptoms

May 3, 2019

"How does exercise help depression and anxiety? 

  • Releasing feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals (endogenous cannabinoids) and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being

  • Taking your mind off worries so you can get away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression and anxiety

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.

  • 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 depression or anxiety is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how you feel, or hoping depression or anxiety will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms.  

How much is enough? 

  • Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms but smaller amounts of physical activity-as little as 1o to 15 minutes at a time-may make a difference. It may take less time exercising to improve your mood when you do more vigorous activities, such as running or bicycling. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program to make sure it's safe for you."