A modest amount of regular exercise effectively relieves mild to moderate depression, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2005;28:1-8). The results of this study add to the evidence that exercise can relieve the symptoms of mild to moderate depression in people using no other treatment. Furthermore, these findings show that the amount of exercise currently recommended by public health officials of 8 calories per pound per week is effective, but an amount of exercise that expends less energy is not. Based on these findings, healthcare providers can offer current exercise guidelines to people with mild to moderate depression: at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of every week.
Mild to moderate depression is a leading cause of disability and premature death in the developed world, second only to heart disease. Symptoms include depressed mood, loss of interest in activities, body weight loss or gain, insomnia or excessive sleeping, fatigue or loss of energy, and inability to concentrate. Antidepressant medications are often prescribed to treat depression, which usually work by increasing brain levels of serotonin or norepinephrine, chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) that calm or excite the nervous system and improve mood. Although they are generally effective at relieving mild to moderate depression symptoms, some of these medicines can cause serious and uncomfortable side effects, including sexual dysfunction. Other treatment approaches include psychotherapy, dietary changes such as sugar and caffeine restriction, herbal remedies such as Saint John’s wort, and exercise. A number of studies have found that exercise can reduce the symptoms of depression, and one study found that it can be as effective as medication in treating mild to moderate depression.
If you are having trouble exercising, I encourage you to find activities that burn calories but that are also fun for you. Sometimes, it is as simple as listening and singing along to music while you use equipment in your home. Other times, bringing a friend along (human or furry) can make the difference. Get a proper table and give your exercise partner a massage. I assure you, giving a massage can be great exercise and wonderful for brightening the day!
Of course, EFT is highly effective with mild to moderate depression as well. A combination of progressively increasing exercise while also tapping on whatever negative thoughts, feelings, and body sensations come up can significantly improve overall outlook on life. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.