I started this “fitness” blog wayyyy back in 2008 when I first started working out. I started working out to try and lose the baby weight after my second c-section. I loved the results and continued to exercise regularly and years later noticed how much it was helping me cope with depression. You can read more about me here.
Exercising or working out is not my favorite thing. I’m usually not excited to do it but I love how I feel after I’m done. Exercise may not be the cure for depression, but it can certainly help make it feel more manageable.
The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back. – Henry Rollins
My #1 Exercise Tip
Your fitness journey is lifelong – there’s no reason to start with a sprint. Start slow with whatever activity you choose. If you want to run, run for 10 or 15 minutes and work from there. A little work is better than no work. You’ll start to gain momentum and hopefully notice that you’re starting to feel good after your workouts and then you can increase time and intensity as needed.
If I were to chart my workouts it wouldn’t look very smooth or regular. There are days I have a workout planned and get it done and there are days where I skip it because I’m having a bad day. Honestly, those are probably the days where I could a workout the most. I’m always mad at myself when I skip a workout but I’m always really glad when I follow through!
Some Exercise-Related Reading That May Be Helpful
Prescribing Exercise to Treat Depression (NY Times)
What kind of exercise should I be doing? Whatever interests you most! I prefer lifting. Running, dancing, swimming, walking, Zumba and spinning are just a few examples of activities to get you moving.
How often do I need to exercise? You DON’T need to workout every day to reap the benefits. My sweet spot is usually 4 good workouts each week. I also like to keep somewhat active on other days with things like painting, house projects or simply walking.
Do I need to join a gym? Nope! There are plenty of things you can do with just your body or with very little equipment. Dumbbells and a good pair of sneakers will give you plenty of things to do. I have always worked out in my home gym and we’ve accumulated equipment over time. I would only enjoy a typical gym if I was there alone. I feel like I wouldn’t be able to focus with other people being able to watch me. Ew!
Please don’t underestimate the mood-boosting power of exercise. Even if you don’t enjoy it much, you might be surprised how you feel after you give it a try for a few weeks. You won’t always be motivated to workout, there’s a certain discipline needed to keep at it but it’s so worth it!
Q. Do you workout regularly? What is your favorite activity?