I have always asked myself, does working out help with depression? I have been lucky enough to never go through any serious depressions. But I have seen family members go through it, and it sucks!
It turns out, exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in some cases. This is encouraging because maybe antidepressants don’t work for you. Maybe you have been looking for alternative solutions.
We are going to go through the benefits of working out and talk about what it will take in order to keep pushing forward. If you are experiencing depression, I know this is a difficult time. Let’s work together to change your outlook!
Benefits of working out
Exercise has actually been proven to help with depression. In some cases, it has actually straight up cured depression.
How is this possible? One of the main psychological benefits of exercise is the release of endorphins. If you have ever worked out before, you know the feeling.
Exercise calms your body down. If you are stressed or depressed, your body is in an agitated state. Working out helps realign your muscles and nervous system to something more productive in a relaxed state.
Working out will improve your mood in general. Aside from the obvious effects of endorphin release, there is much more. You will have a better sense of body confidence. Knowing that you are working towards your dream body will help you with confidence and mood.
Sleeping is great, right? Well, you will get more of it! Working out obviously gets your body working, which means you will be more tired at night. Besides that, as mentioned before, your muscles and central nervous system will be more relaxed. This will make for the perfect environment for a deep slumber.
How to get started with working out
Start with a goal in mind. Do you want to lose weight or do you want to put on muscle? This simple question will put you on a strong path of where to go from here.
It’s simple. If you want to put on muscle, stick to weight training and minimal cardio. If you want to lose weight, do a combination of weight training and HIIT. I highly recommend downloading our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). We have multiple FREE workout plans, and built in HIIT workouts that will shed fat.
If you don’t want to download the app, we understand. For weight loss, check out 4 of the Best High Intensity Interval Training Workouts for Beginners at Home. If you are looking to build muscle, take a look at 15 Workouts to Build Muscle at Home with No Weights.
The key here is to just get started. Working out helps with depression in more ways than one. Just get into the habit of doing it. Learn how to make exercise a habit.
Just in this section alone, you now have all of the tools to get you started on your working out journey. Even if you go to the gym or do a workout for 5 minutes per day, it is better than nothing. From there you can grow yourself.
How to stick to the plan
It is all about measuring here! I will tell you right off the bat that you should take some “before” pictures of yourself. When you are seeing yourself in the mirror every single day, you won’t notice the change. But when you go back and look at a picture of yourself, you will be shocked with the changes.
Besides seeing the physical progress, it is also important to measure when you are working out, what workouts you are doing, etc… The main 3 ways to do this are writing everything down, using an excel spreadsheet, or using an app.
If you are not technologically savvy, writing your progress down is the most obvious choice. Lucky for everyone, our app is very easy to follow along, so of course we are going to recommend giving it a shot.
Again, the most important thing to do is show up. Are you afraid to go to the gym and show yourself? Build a home gym from Amazon! There are no more excuses not to hit your goals. If you can’t build a home gym, you can definitely workout with no weights. Check out the links in the previous section.
How to know that working out helps with depression
Are you feeling better overall? This is kind of a relative question depending on your situation. I know that people in severe depression have trouble climbing out of it without the help of various prescription drugs.
The best thing to do is get to the gym and workout for 30 minutes. This could be a great way to determine if exercise elevates your mood. Did you notice how I said “elevates your mood?” This indicator will be a determination of long term success.
Short term results are elevated mood, more positive outlook, etc.. But we are going to need long term commitment before we are going to see massive changes. And that is OK!
As a society, we expect quick fixes for everything. We want a cure, and we want it now. Life doesn’t work like that, unfortunately. Everything that is worth it will take time, effort, and commitment.
Main Point: Does working out help with depression?
By now, we know that working out absolutely does help with depression. There might be some outliers, but there is definite proof of the benefits of exercise.
The main thing that you want to do is just get started. I know that there are some days where I have to drag myself to the gym. I am too lazy to get started, and at first I really didn’t want to be there. By the time that I am done, I feel great and happy that I finished the workout.
Remember to stick with a plan and make sure that you are forming habits that will help your future.
Does working out help with depression for you? Let us know in the comment section.