Run It Out: Exercise Can Lessen Feelings of Depression
I can find all of the answers to all of life’s problems while I’m running. I brainstorm the books I’ll write, the dances I’ll post on social media, the parties I will plan.
And while I’m running, I rarely feel depressed. Running and other forms of exercise are recommended for people struggling with depression and anxiety. While running doesn’t eliminate feelings of depression completely, it can help.
Livescience.com referenced a study in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology that showed that the antidepressant effect of running is from cells growing in the hippocampus (part of the brain). This is one of the many reasons that therapists suggest that clients with depression add exercise to their daily routines. Other types of exercise (weight-lifting, swimming and walking) can help in the same way as running.
Running has been my antidote to postpartum depression, grief and anxiety. I can choose a race, put it on the calendar, and then the training schedule takes over, motivating me to keep moving. The goal pushes me to overcome any sadness, inertia or irritation.
An article in Runner’s World captures how running has helped many people suffering from depression. It cites evidence of people lessening their feelings of anxiety, as well.
If you have used exercise to cope with depression, anxiety or grief, I’d like to hear from you! Reach out to me at [email protected].
If you’re feeling depressed, see a therapist. This post does not substitute for counseling or seeing your doctor.