Did you know that regular exercise has been scientifically proven as being more effective than anti-depressants at getting people out – and keeping them out – of depression?
In 2000, a group of researchers at Duke University, North Carolina did an experiment with three sets of equally-depressed patients. The first group was assigned to do aerobic exercises for four months. The second group was prescribed an anti-depressant; and the third group was given both the anti-depressant and the exercise.
At the end of four months, the experiment showed that there were no significant differences between the groups. In other words, the experiment clearly showed that when it came to treating depression, exercise was just as effective as medication.
But the biggest surprise was yet to come.
Ten months’ later when the researchers went back to evaluate the progress being made by the three groups, they found that a significant number of the patients who were regularly exercising had completely recovered from their depression, while many more of the patients who had been prescribed the antidepressant had relapsed. This showed that exercise was actually more effective than drugs, for overcoming depression.
To maximize your chances of boosting your mood, aim to do three 30 minute exercise sessions a week. It doesn’t have to be anything too high-impact or organized – you can walk fast, swim, dance, but the key is to move around enough to break a sweat, and to do it for at least 30 minutes.
Physiologically speaking, sweat is also another great way that your body breaks down all the stress hormones swirling around, and shows them the door.
Physical exercise also gets the energy contained in your body to start moving around properly, which helps to break-up the stagnant, stuck or frozen energy patterns that could also be severely disrupting your mood.
So if you’re feeling blue, instead of automatically reaching for the Prozac, first shoot some hoops in your yard, or take a jog, or hit some balls around for half an hour instead – because research shows that really, that’s probably all you actually need to do, to start turning your mood around.