Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November of 2012 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy.
Battling depression can be a difficult thing to do. Research has shown that exercise is an effective, but oftenk underused, treatment for mild to moderate depression. Here's some tried-and-true advice about feeling better through exercise.
Once you start exercising, keep it up! The more active you are, the more energy you have. The Center for Disease Control recommends that adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five or more days per week. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which interact with the receptors in your brain to trigger a positive feeling in the body.
Don't Try It Alone
Strong social support is important for those battling depression. Join a group fitness class or have a good friend as an exercise partner. By doing this you will not only benefit from the exercise, but also the emotional comfort from the support of others. Plus, it's much more fun to exercise with a friend!
Don't Skip Your Exercise Routine
Skipping exercise for a week or two may change your mood, says a study that turned regular exercisers into couch potatoes. "We were able to measure negative results from withdrawal of exercise in just two weeks," says researcher Ali Berlin.
"After one week we began to see changes. After two weeks they were significantly more tense, tired, and less vigorous. The more out of shape they became, the more their mood and energy level dropped. What this tells us is that any interruption in a regular fitness routine can have a negative impact," Berlin adds.