Depression and exercise. Your first line of defense.

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It has been reported by the World Health Organisation that depression is the BIGGEST cause of disability worldwide right now with over 350 million people living with it. It is a serious problem.

The definition of depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. The Mayo Clinic discusses in more detail what it is here.

There are many treatments depending on the severity, but what I wanted to talk about was the consistent research supporting the efficacy of physical activity, both aerobic and strength training. In some studies it has been shown to be as effective if not more so than antidepressant medication. I guess I see it as a preventative strategy just as much as a treatment. As many others do, I have depression in the family. Fortunately for me, I have always exercised as a function of my upbringing and personal desire to be athletic. This was so I could perform better in my chosen sports of rugby league and then professional tennis. This habit that I got into has persisted now into my late 40’s and I suspect has been something which has kind of fortified me against depression. I cannot say I have suffered from it personally at any time so I can’t attest to it as a treatment for myself, but I have certainly seen it do it wonders for those around me including family members as a first line of defense.

If in doubt you should really check out this fact sheet from the Black Dog Institute. It cites some quality studies supporting this notion that exercise is a huge weapon in the fight against depression. There are just too many other ‘side effects’ of regular fitness training for me to list today in this article, but trust me when I say they are side effects you actually want!

A lot of marketing you may see for fitness, gyms and personal training talk about the obvious changes, extreme results and make overs from an aesthetic point of view that people can achieve from exercising. No one ever doesn’t want to look a bit better I guess, but the FEELINGS exercise creates are way under emphasised. Most of our clients and members tell me after chatting about ‘toning up’ and the like that they ‘simply just want to feel better’. Well you know what? Exercise is the almost magic potion that delivers way more than it takes (a bit of effort). Who knew there could be such a strong relationship between depression and exercise?

We can help you get started! My background is both Sports Science and Psychology, and I know first hand the benefits both physically and mentally when  you can dial in exercise as your new positive habit.

You can contact me on 07 3854 0386.

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