Hit the gym! Or go for a jog. That’s right, exercise is the best way to fight depression. It is not only free but also natural.
Yesterday morning I worked on my legs in the gym. Did some squats, leg extensions and calf raises. Then I worked on my midsection. In the evening I played badminton first time in two weeks. Went home, had dinner, a beer or two and went to sleep. Trouble started in the middle of the night. I woke up with a cramp in my foot. Trying to stretch my foot out, I ended up with another cramp on the inside of the thigh. Try to stretch this one out in bed at 3 am 🙂
Anyway, this morning I had trouble sitting down. I just slumped. Standing back up was another matter. My glutes hurt so much that walking up the stairs was impossible. But I felt good. Overall, my mood was much better than yesterday. This is not the first time I’ve noticed this phenomenon so I thought I would share it with others.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is known for his “gym-high” remarks. For him pumping iron was like drugs – it gave him a natural high. This is because the body secretes a number of hormones during and after a workout. There’s growth hormone, testosterone, of course, and endorphins. The endorphins are responsible for making you feel good. And all this without any side effects, unless you want to count the muscle pain. On top of that, you get increased oxygen supply to the brain.
I have battled depression for many years. I had absolutely no motivation to exercise during this time and lost a lot of weight. I tried anti depressants but could not hack the initial period of getting my body used to them. After just over a week of feeling constant nausea I filed the rest of the packet in the round filing cabinet.
Looking back over the years, I came out of the depression not long after joining a gym. Not doing much exercise for almost 20 years, I hit the gym with a vengeance and worked out 4 times a week. There were also other factors that helped, like socialising, having a goal and simply trying something new.
There is a strong link between exercise and good mood. There was no coincidence in my case that starting a new exercise program helped me overcome depression. So if you’re feeling blue, do yourself a favour and do some exercise. And if you’re feeling angry or frustrated then there’s nothing better than getting it out on a punching bag. Most gyms usually have one. (The one I had at home had a face drawn on it to help me focus…)