Part 2: Exercise Can Help Reduce Depression
(Excerpt from “http://exercise.about.com” Paige Waehner)
Often times, starting an exercise program can feel overwhelming especially when struggling with depression or trauma from abuse. Many of us may enthusiastically jump into an exercise program that does not fit well with our lifestyles, abilities, and has unrealistic goals. Without taking the time to plan, many people often quit these exercise programs before seeing any benefits. For those with struggling with depression, exercising seems like even more of an impossibility. The problem with depression is that it makes you feel like you have no energy. No matter what your thoughts are telling you, it really is possible to exercise when you’re depressed. If you take some simple steps, you can add a little activity to your day to help lift your mood and work through your depression.
Set simple goals. You don’t have to train for a marathon. Set a goal to get dressed and walking around the block. Promise yourself you’ll walk around the block at least 3 times that day. The next day, do more. Try to improve just a little bit each day.
Go easy on yourself. You might not be able to handle a lot of exercise, so try to feel good about what you CAN do. Now is not the time to kick yourself!
Do what you enjoy. If yoga feels good to you, spend a few minutes going through your favorite poses. If you usually enjoy they gym, get your bag packed and hit the treadmill. Even if you’re not enjoying it right now, eventually you will.
Make it social. Try to find a friend to walk with. Talking to people can help raise your energy and remind you that you’re not alone.
Go outside. Even a little bit of sunshine can help raise your mood a little. Try to get outside and get some fresh air, remind yourself there’s a world out there and you can participate in it as much as you can handle.
Work with your doctor. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your treatment options and your plans to exercise. He or she may be able to refer you to someone who can help you set up an exercise program.
Whatever you do, don’t give up. You’re not alone and you aren’t doomed to feel this way forever. Find support. Try to participate in life as much as you can, even if it doesn’t feel good. Sometimes you have to do what’s right for yourself and wait for the good feelings to come later. Exercise can be a big help with your moods and the sense of accomplishment can add a new dimension to your day.
Coming up next: What Eva does for exercise.
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