“Make a list of all the ways that exercise and movement benefits you. And tap into that when motivation is low. Also, meet yourself where you’re at; so if you typically go to the gym for an hour to strength train but you’re finding that hard sometimes, swap it up for say a walk in nature, or an online dance class! Be flexible and do something different now and then,” Karen says.
The best thing is there’s no single best exercise for depression. Everything counts. Exercise has so many benefits and can really improve your quality of life. Being active can contribute to a reduction in stress and mental health issues, improved self-esteem, better sleep, and less anxiety and depression. All in all, for body and mind, regular exercise can play a vital role in feeling good on a day-to-day basis.
Sport and physical activity also serve as a great distraction if you’re having a hard time and can help you feel present in the moment, without ruminating on your thoughts or mental health issues. Exercise also naturally releases endorphins, which trigger positive feelings in the body. The natural high you get from exercise is very real and enjoyable, and has the added benefit of also being good for your health!
“Remember that movement is movement; so that includes walking the dog, gardening and housework, and dancing in your kitchen. You don’t have to commit to gym workouts if that’s not something you enjoy,” Karen continues.