Exercise can sometimes be the best medicine
Rich Brodie , Personal Trainer at The Y Club, discusses how exercise can help you out from feeling low.
WHAT is depression? What does depression actually mean? What type of depression is it and by that I mean is it mild depression or severe depression?
Whether we like it or not, depression is a form of mental health. Now this doesn’t make you crazy or anything like, it simply means we are struggling with everyday tasks that once didn’t cross our mind. It seems that everything is really hard to do; getting out of bed is a struggle, and getting dressed becomes a major chore. A feeling of not wanting to face anybody, talk to anybody about anything, even friends or family. We feel so down and helpless with ourselves we really don’t see any way out from it! It can a very scary place to be. And in some cases people have taken their own lives because of it.
It doesn’t mean going to the gym all the time – , it could be just going for a walk, getting out in to the countryside.
So how does someone get depression? It’s not like we just wake up and feel depressed. I mean, we can all have bad days and feel a little down but nothing on this scale. So what can trigger it? It could be anything from a major life-changing event, the loss of someone close to you, losing your job, going through a divorce, having a baby (especially if it was a traumatic experience), trying to cope with a newborn, having a unpleasant upbringing. There might even be a history of depression in the family; it might be that you`ve been let down by people who you thought were friends. Been there!
Depression can affect anybody at any time and if you think it’s not going to affect you then you’re in for a bit of a shock. I think we will all go through it at some stage in our lives; we can`t live in a society like today’s and not expect it to affect us – just look around you. You watch the news and it all seems like war after war, people killing each other, people trying to outdo each other, kids getting stabbed at school. At school, for god’s sake! It’s a crazy world at the moment.
How do we deal with depression? There are a few options that we can look at, depending on what type of depression it is.
1- Talk to your doctor. As much as it might be hard to do so, sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone that you don’t really know. He might prescribe you medication but only in extreme cases of depression would I opt for that. When you start with the tablets you then have another issue of relying on them and then you have side effects and before you know it you’re taking 10 tablets a day! That’s not what you want.
2- You can go to special support groups where you can discuss things in the open – remember everybody’s there for the same reason, nobody is going to laugh at you or judge you!
3- Depending on how you feel and, I know it would be tough, but those of us who are lucky enough to have friends and family to talk to, please talk to them. Remember these are friends and family for a reason, to pick us up when we feel that life`s getting a bit too much for us, or to give us that support when we need it. (This is where you find out who your true friends are.) You never know when you might have to be there for someone yourself.
4- And of course there is exercise. And it doesn’t mean going to the gym all the time – it could be just going for a walk, getting out in to the countryside. I tend to say this a lot but I personally think that’s the best treatment, if you want to call it that.
So how does exercise affect depression? When we do some sort of exercise, the body releases feel good brain chemicals (one being endorphins) that can reduce the effects of depression. It’s not going to cure it but it will definitely, definitely help. It can be any form of exercise, from walking to hitting the gym floor. You can feel the effects pretty much straight away after you exercise. If you don’t believe me, give it a try, you might be surprised at how it makes you feel. Word of warning, though: it can be quite addictive – in a good way!
Last thing: remember you`re not alone as much as you think!
More information about depression and coping techniques and help can be found on the mind website.