The Effectiveness of Exercise Therapy for Depression
By Erik Parkin
According to a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Canadians are one of the world’s biggest users of antidepressants. Many clinical guidelines say that antidepressants should not be the first-line treatment for mild or moderate depression. Clinicians have been advised by the authorities not to prescribe antidepressants because of the concerns about its tolerability and effectiveness. As a result, the most common alternative for depression is physiotherapy and counseling. Physiotherapist often suggests exercise therapy for depression. So, here are some effects of exercise therapy for depression.
Improves Mental Health
Multiple research have shown that a supervised programme of exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild or moderate depression. Exercise has been associated with reduced anxiety, decreased depression, enhanced mood, improved perception of self-worth, improved cognitive functioning and body image. This therapy has also appeared to be effective and preventive against depression. It not only increase the blood flow to the brain but also releases the endorphins which are the body’s natural antidepressant. When there is an increase in endorphins, it positively affects the symptoms of depression.
Manipulates Body Temperature
The rise in the core body temperature (thermogenesis) following the exercise is responsible for the reduction in the symptoms of depression. An increase in the temperature of specific brain regions such as brainstem can lead to the overall feeling of relaxation. It also aids in the reduction of tension on the muscles. Make sure that you do your exercise under the supervision of a physiotherapist to avoid any heat-illness.
Increases Brain Neurotransmitters
Exercise therapy increases the availability of brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The surge of these hormones in the brain tends to diminish depression. These chemicals in the brain play an important part in regulating your mood. For example, regular exercises positively impact serotonin levels in your brain. Raising serotonin boosts your mood and overall sense of well-being. Serotonin improves your appetite and sleep cycles which are the negative effects of depression.
Distracts You from Worries and Thoughts
Physical activities serve as a distraction from worries and depressive thoughts. Exercise therapy is one of the distracting activities that can help you to cope with your depression. Your self-focus increases with a reduction in the levels of depression. Compared to other distracting activities, exercise is more effective to treat clinical depression.
Enhances Your Self-efficacy
Self-efficacy refers to the skills needed to complete a task successfully. Depressed people often feel it difficult to get positive outcomes in their lives. Their faulty thinking usually leads to negative self-evaluation. Exercise therapy provides an effective mode through which self-efficacy can be enhanced.
Involvement in structure exercise has shown promising results in alleviating symptoms of clinical depression. If you want to opt for an in-home exercise therapy to help manage your depression, visit our physio clinic or book an appointment with us. We are located in Calgary. Our exercise physiologists are specialized to train you so that you may reap the benefits mentioned above to treat your depression.