Do You Know That Exercise Can Treat Depression?

Depression is one of the primary causes of disability and premature death throughout the world. It is one of the most common mental disorders that is characterized by depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration. Depression can be chronic or recurrent, and it can have a significant impact on the health and ability to do different tasks. Depression can range from very mild to severe condition, and in the most severe cases, depression can be accompanied by hallucinations and delusions.

There are many forms of depression but two of the most common forms of depression include:

1. Major depression – It is a form of depression is a condition which adversely interferes with the ability of an individual to work, sleep, eat and enjoy life. The symptoms of major depression stay with the person most of the time. This form of depression lasts with an individual for at least two weeks.

2. Persistent depression – This form of depression stays with an individual for at least two years and it has a significant impact on the quality of life. A person suffering from persistent depression experience frequent episodes of major depression.

Multiple studies have reported that regular physical exercise is effective in managing and preventing depression and regular exercise has the ability to alleviate the symptoms of depression. The role of exercise in increasing the level of brain serotonin contributes to treating the symptoms of depression. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is involved in regulating the moss of an individual. Other factors that are controlled by the levels of serotonin in the brain is libido, sleep, and appetite. Any problems in the pathway of serotonin can trigger the symptoms of depression. Some other ways through which exercise or physical activity can alleviate the symptoms of depression are as follows:

  • It increases energy levels
  • It improves sleep
  • It distracts people from problems or worries
  • It increases the sense of control
  • It improves self-esteem.

Aerobic Exercise

Some pieces of evidence suggest that aerobic exercise can contribute to the treatment and management of depression. Multiple studies have been conducted on the role of aerobic exercise in reducing the symptoms of depression, and the result showed that aerobic training has a significant effect on reducing depression, especially in middle-aged women. Aerobic exercise has an impact on stress, and stress plays a vital role in triggering the symptoms of depression. Long-time exposure to stress is one of the leading causes of developing depression, and reducing the impact of stress can have a significant reduction in symptoms of depression.

Also Read: Why Should You Be Aware Of Exercise Addiction?

Another mechanism that contributes to reducing depression is due to an increased level of serotonin and norepinephrine, which leads to a release of inendorphins and reduced secretion of cortisol. Therefore, an increased level of endorphin, norepinephrine, and serotonin and a decrease in the secretion of cortisol results in a decrease in the symptoms of depression. Also, it is believed that exercise keeps the mind away from negative thoughts and make an individual feel much better about their own self. Some studies suggest that even a short term exercise can show the effect by reducing the symptoms.


For thousands of years, meditation has been known to produce a deep state of relaxation and tranquil mind. Meditation is helpful in the treatment of many health conditions and it works wonders if it is associated with mental health. Meditation is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and meditation is thought to work by having its effect on the sympathetic nervous system which increases the blood pressure and heart rate during the time of stress.

Studies have been conducted in understanding the efficacy and effectiveness of meditation for the treatment of depression. Meditation has been highly recommended to treat the problems that are associated with mental health. Meditation allows an individual to think deeply and forget about their worries for at least some time. Meditation provides the feeling of calmness in the mind. Studies have also suggested that 15 to 20 minutes of meditation on the daily basis can have a significant change in the mood by reducing the symptoms of depression.


Most often, people think that yoga is about developing flexibility and bone strength but yoga is considered as an amazing and effective solution of depression and other mental related problems. Studies have shown that regular practice of yoga leads to a significant reduction in the symptoms of depression and anxiety. There is a strong relationship between depression and depression and anxiety. People who suffer from depression are more likely to have symptoms of anxiety as well. Yoga is considered to be a promising treatment for depression which is cost effective and easy to implement. Some of the yoga postures that help in reducing the symptoms of depression are as follows:

1. Balasana

Balasana is also known as child’s pose and it is a beneficial pose that effectively calms the mind. The practice of this yoga pose involves the resting of forehead on the mat and this step of this pose give an immediate effect on the mind and the brain. It helps to release the tension which results in a reduction of stress and the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Balasana provides many other benefits on the body as well and some of them include, it relieves pain in lower back and neck, it promotes blood circulation throughout the body, and massage the internal organs of the body.

2. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, also known as upward facing dog pose is one of the poses that contains many benefits and its benefits can be seen on almost all the part of the body, including the brain. It is believed that, with the daily practice, the flow of energy can be felt in the body that reduces the feeling of being depressed. Also, this yoga pose helps in fighting the disease and promotes better sleep pattern. An impaired sleeping pattern can worsen the symptoms of depression.

3. Uttanasana

Uttanasana, also known as standing forward fold pose calms the mind and reduces symptoms of depression such as low mood, feeling of loneliness and the feeling of being depressed. It provides immense relaxation to the nerves of the mind with results in rejuvenating the mind. Other than its benefits on a mind, it also improves the posture, balance, and coordination of the body. It has many other benefits as well such as lowering high blood pressure, improving digestion and improving the symptoms of conditions such as insomnia, headache, asthma, fatigue, kidney problems, and menopause.



Tags: Benefits of depression, Exercise and anxiety, Does exercise help stress

Photo of author

Jim Carson

Jim Carson is the writer for the mental health section of He is certified in clinical mental health counselling and has conducted cognitive behaviour therapy for war veterans struggling with PTSD. Professionally and personally, Jim is an astute observer of human behaviour that reflects well in his work.