Workouts and depression



  • mbaker566
    mbaker566 Posts: 11,234 Member
    i think doing something you enjoy can help, but otherwise meh

    i like running and aerial yoga and now lyra, but make me do tennis or golf and i would be miserable
  • zamphir66
    zamphir66 Posts: 582 Member
    How do you know that you wouldn't feel worse sans exercise?
  • cerise_noir
    cerise_noir Posts: 5,468 Member
    I'm in the camp of exercise doesn't help all of the time, and sometimes when I feel really depressed, moving itself can be hard. Yes, I am medicated, but even then, I am not depression-free 100% of the time.
  • Z3NN4
    Z3NN4 Posts: 58 Member
    Working out helps my depression, especially when it is super intense and I sweat a lot. I think that chemically we are all different and that not everything will work for everyone, however, you may also consider asking a doctor. Until I was on the right medicine for my thyroid issues working out made me angry, and before I was diagnosed I didn't always have the energy to finish which just made me more sad.

    I think that others have mentioned, also, that really loving what you are doing (or at least liking it) is what gives you that extra boost of dopamine and endorphins. Also try working out with someone else for that boost of oxytocin. I'm a nature freak so hiking and swimming in natural waters are one of my favorite workouts. I try to bring people with me every time, usually my kids or siblings. I also use cize because I love to dance, which means I'm having fun and laughing the whole time. PiYo I got to help me with my injuries because cize was too much jumping around sometimes, but also because I love yoga but prefer to keep it moving. I also have found some awesome belly dance aerobic instruction on YouTube for days where that is the most appealing. I think variety helps, too.

    Being depressed sucks a lot. I have major depression disorder and I don't take any meds but those for thyroid. What keeps me from falling apart or hiding myself away is a combination of my health and fitness regimen, keeping myself accountable with challenge groups (which keeps me social, which means oxyticin), and constant personal development. As a full time student, mom, & entreprenuer, finding time for feel-good reading is difficult but worth it. I wish you the best of luck and please feel free to message/add me if I can help in any way.
  • refuseresist
    refuseresist Posts: 937 Member
    edited August 2016
    i think depression/ low self esteem can make me feel anxious about exercising and I feel worse sometimes because I feel I am not good enough and there's no point in trying so the challenge of exercise is difficult sometimes, like I hate my self and feel sad because I'm rubbish at running/ lifting whatever and I'll always be fat ugly and disgusting no matter what i do
  • Fuzzipeg
    Fuzzipeg Posts: 2,229 Member
    I'm wondering if vitamin D might help. My US geography is not good. If you moved from a southern state to a more northern one you could be sunshine deficient causing you to become low in mood because your body is not able to have the sun to keep your vitamin D levels up. You would not have enough time returning on vacations to increase your sun exposure adequately quickly enough to make a significant difference. One recent piece of research recommends everyone in the UK take Vit D at least for the winter months!
  • bshrom
    bshrom Posts: 71 Member
    I would say depends on the activity. If I am feeling a little low and I go out on a sunny day for a walk then yes it boosts my mood quite a bit. I find that I will start walking and feel better and then my walk will turn into a run. So it does work for me for boosting my mood.
  • mummy_3_uk
    mummy_3_uk Posts: 8 Member
    I suffered PND after my 2nd child was born, had meds for a while. Im now 9wks post partum with 3rd child and feel great as long as I keep doing things. Either just go out for a walk with the pushchair and kids or a proper workout. I always feel better and less stressed after a cardio or resistance workout so I am starting to add more workouts into my week. I think exercise does help at least it did for me x
  • grinning_chick
    grinning_chick Posts: 765 Member
    Exercise has been anecdotally reported as helping by enough people now for it to be adopted as a general recommendation these days. However, no one ever claimed it helped everyone because it does not.

  • cinnag4225
    cinnag4225 Posts: 126 Member
    It could be the type of exercise. My mood's generally pretty good and relaxed after a couple hours of swimming, but I do fifteen minutes of aerobics and I'm ready to bite someone's head off. As for depression, it tends to flare up if I have a bad performance day, but I'm much less negative about myself than I used to be.
  • mrmeza123
    mrmeza123 Posts: 34 Member
    I suggest grabbing a snack with you and a Gatorade, eating throughout your workout. That would get you started.
  • deoboed
    deoboed Posts: 13 Member
    The most cited studies on exercise and depression are regarding an hour a day of aerobic exercise, which isn't realistic for everyone. There may be new studies regarding resistance workouts as well. (And for a study to be a success, to say the treatment works, it just has to produce a reduction in symptoms above and beyond the control group that didn't do the exercise, there's no study that says it worked for everyone, so there's nothing inherently wrong with you if you're working out and not seeing an improvement in mood. And at the least you know there are benefits besides the mood so it's not like it's wasted effort.)

    There are some very well done studies regarding being outdoors for exercise, with benefits starting after 5 minutes. You might like to take a look at this one:

    You mentioned you're in school, I think-- can you get mental health services through the health center at your school? Exercise could be a good building block in an all around program. Good luck.
  • pianoplaya94
    pianoplaya94 Posts: 185 Member
    It helps for me, but only temporarily (right after a run for about an hour). Then again, I've been running for 2 years so I don't know how depressed I would actually be if I gave up running (probably more because whenever I miss a run on the odd time I feel awful). That being said, I think it also depends on the reason for your depression and the type of exercise you do. For instance, I find that occasionally running can make me even more depressed (rarely) if I have something really bugging me on my mind. Running gives me the opportunity to dwell on that subject matter which usually makes me more worried.
  • llaurenmarie
    llaurenmarie Posts: 1,260 Member
    edited August 2016
    Just to share a personal side of things.. I've always suffered from bi-polar disorder and manic depression, unmedicated. Being a guinea pig for a while to see if something does or does not work terrifies me and further ignites my anxiety. I'm not totally against medicine, but I'm trying my kitten off to work this out on my own.

    Anyway, The month of July I simply maintained(Thank goodness because if I had gained it would have spiraled me further). I still worked out, but it never boosted my mood. Most of that month my moods were wildly unpredictable and I was deeply pulled down by depression. I thought back about what was different about the past few weeks and I had been "comforting" myself with a lower calorie version of ice cream... a lot. But it was always within my maintenance calories, no biggie? It had some sort of sugar alcohol in it, I forget.

    I was just so exhausted by my mood swings I decided to really try something different and cut grains, added sugars and fruit. Never done that before in my life and I know it's really extreme but I just wanted to try it.
    With the exception of testing things out to see how I react to fruits and chocolate(still not so well on my stomach or skin) I have been depression free for 25 days. My resting heart rate has dropped by 10bpm. (Also, yoga helped some days but not all days)

    ETA: Since my moods are so much more stable, it's easier to keep within my calories without emotional eating/bingeing.

    Like I said, it's extreme and I still am going to allow myself maybe one serving of fruit a day and the occasional treat once or twice a month.. but the effects of lowering it has sincerely changed my mental health around. I'm excited to see how it pans out(and to indulge in a piece of birthday cake next month).

    tldr: Look into more than just exercise for natural help.
  • goldthistime
    goldthistime Posts: 3,214 Member
    Exercise reliably keeps my feelings of anxiety and depression at bay, but perhaps they are comparatively low level to begin with. I have never had a self-harm thought, for instance. I'm saddened to hear that vigorous exercise isn't the solution for everyone, but I'm grateful to the OP and others for the education on the topic. It's yet another reminder that not everyone is me.
  • wiferichie1
    wiferichie1 Posts: 9 Member
    Maybe exercise with music?

    Adding music that I absolutely love helps me :)
  • Return2Fit
    Return2Fit Posts: 226 Member
    Exercise helps stabilize my moods big time.
    I am a very intense, high energy guy who needs that outlet to engage something productive, challenging and beneficial. Everything in my life is ordered around goals, actions and reaching potential, so exercise fits right into that scope. If I am upset or discouraged, exercise transforms my whole outlook and attitude.

    I just can't imagine how I'd cope without my barefoot hikes, HIIT Biking, lake swimming, weight training, MMA, long runs, morning calisthenics or evening walks. We're all different, so find what works to uplift your spirit and learn to live and love life.

    We only get one shot at it....
  • gushfactor
    gushfactor Posts: 8 Member
    It might be a hormonal imbalance that working out aggravates more. Such as too much testosterone maybe. Id get hormones checked.
  • samilicious01
    samilicious01 Posts: 9 Member
    So I've read a lot about how exercise is supposed to help people feel less depressed and increase moods... It hasn't worked for me though and sometimes I even feel a bit moodier after working out.. I don't know why, any tips on what could maybe help!?

    It maybe the type of exercise. I've found that certain exercises allow me to switch off completely and others take much longer or in some rare cases, not at all.

    I play squash - in game there's no time to think and I'm 100% switched off. I lift - 50% of the time I can still have things on my mind and as soon as the weights become heavy I switch off. Cardio activities tend to let my mind wonder and I can fill that time with all kinds of nonsense. Have you tried different activities?