Physical activity in the treatment of depression
Scientific research has shown that people who regularly exercise experience better mood and are less likely to suffer from depression. It also turns out that exercise can help to relieve the symptoms of the disease. How does sport affect the body and which forms are most beneficial for people suffering from depression?
The role of physical activity in the fight against depression
According to psychologists, physical exercises are beneficial both for the body and the mind. They lead to more self-confidence and so-called a sense of mastery, helpful in developing new skills useful in life. According to specialists in the fields of biology and medicine, physical activity leads to an increase in the number of neurotransmitters, or substances that facilitate the transmission of impulses between nerve cells.
It should be remembered that during physical exertion, the body produces a larger amount of endorphins and serotonin. The first of these two substances leads to a feeling of bliss and reduces the perception of pain. Endorphins stimulate a positive feeling, similar to that caused by morphine. Therefore, after training or running, we often experience euphoria and look at life more positively. Meanwhile, serotonin contributes to a feeling of contentment.
Another advantageous aspect of physical activity is the ability to experience social interaction. This applies in particular to sports practiced in a group. Staying among people creates an opportunity to make new friends or friendships that improve mood and are an effective weapon in the fight against depression.
Physical activity in the prevention of depression
A recent study shows that exercise can reduce the risk of depression in people of all ages. Researchers have noted that over 150 minutes of sports weekly reduces the probability of developing a problem by 19-27%. In yet another experiment, it was proven that even regular walks, i.e. a relatively low intensity effort, can reduce the risk of depression by up to 60%.
It also turns out that doing sports in childhood reduces the risk of depression in a future life. According to specialists, people who are physically active from an early age, cope better with emotions, and to a lesser extent they care about the assessment of others, the possibility of being ridiculed or the probability of making a mistake. In addition, the positive support of trainers and teachers increases the self-esteem of young people and improves their mood.
The most effective forms of physical activity in the treatment of depression
According to a study conducted in 2000 by Paluska and Schwenk, aerobic and stretching exercises are the most advantageous for people suffering from depression. So it is not about the intensity of exercise, but about the very fact of taking up the activity. One should also remember about the regularity, which increases the effectiveness with which the effort relieves symptoms of depression.
According to many doctors, physical activity is an effective way to improve mood and prevent depression, but it may not be enough to cure it. A diagnosed problem can be overcome by combining movement with psychotherapy and pharmacological therapy.