Depression causes people to act in unusual ways, oftentimes leaving patients lethargic. As a result, many who become depressed often prefer not to participate in much or any physical activity. However, according to a recent article which examined the effects of exercise on 267,000 people, physical activity may be just what’s needed to beat the blues.

Felipe Barreto Schuch and Brendon Stubbs, researchers at the University of Santa Maria in Brazil, explain that “exercise ought to be more seriously considered and prescribed in treatment protocols, in the same way that talk therapy and medication…are.” In the review, which consisted of 49 studies, the researchers closely examined the positive and negative effects that different types of exercise had on depressed and non-depressed individuals. Their review concluded that “exercise reduced the chances someone would experience depression by between 17 and 41 percent.” What’s more, the substantial and beneficial effects were observed across a number of different classifications including country, age, and gender. This is fantastic news for many who have struggled to find something that works, and is especially exciting news for those who want to use holistic remedies in conjunction with pharmacological treatments.

In another review conducted by Schuch and Stubbs, which consisted of 1,487 people, roughly 40-50% of people already suffering from depression responded positively to exercise. In all of them, the response was a significant improvement. The response was so effective, in fact, that it was determined to be equally effective to the combined therapeutic value of talk therapy and antidepressant medications. Once again, fantastic news for those who need a mood booster!

However, despite these positive results, according to Schuch and Stubbs, “exercise is not a panacea, and may not work equally for all.” This means that, despite being an effective treatment for the majority, there may still be a minority who either cannot or will not benefit from an exercise regimen. This means that, especially for the estimated 18% of people who find exercise is not effective, a different, more pharmaceutically-oriented treatment may be better.

It should be noted, however, that none of these treatments are exclusive, and that any of them can—and should—be used together, when appropriate, to improve their efficacy and the chances of recovery. Regardless of your biological makeup, everyone’s emotions fluctuate, like waves, throughout their lives.

Since emotions are just biological shortcuts triggered by our response to nature, sometimes we don’t have to think about things before we act. Perhaps one reason exercise is so effective is because it allows us to experience parts of life without requiring too much thinking—moving us into a more thoughtless and reactionary state, albeit temporarily. As a result, less time and energy is spent fretting over things, and more time is spent moving on.

In the spirit of healthy living, next time you find your emotions crawling into a dark corner, remember that the focus should not be on why it is happening, but rather, how you respond to it. By accepting and allowing yourself to feel your emotions without judging them, you have the rare opportunity to learn more about yourself through mindful reflection. When this is done frequently enough, it can lead to moments of great profundity and even allow you to experience a special type of joy, even in moments of great sadness. 

Contact Elev8 MD Wellness Center Our Charlotte area ketamine clinic and wellness center offers a wide variety of treatments to support those suffering from mental health disorders and chronic pain conditions. From ketamine infusions and IV hydration, to psychotherapy, massage, acupuncture and talk therapy, our wellness center has you covered. Contact us today to learn how we can support your journey to health and wellness.