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How Exercise Positively Effects Depression

Essay by   •  April 9, 2018  •  Research Paper  •  1,528 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,093 Views

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Exercise and physical activity have always been a commonly thought of remedy for a gloomy mood. And most of us have certainly felt much happier after a walk or good workout. But clinical depression is another circumstance; could regular exercise prevent symptoms and ultimately improve these health problems? Depression, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed (Parekh, 2017). Although major depression disorder is common, it is not a condition to be taken lightly. There has been increased interest on studying how exercise affects and helps many medical disorders, one of these being depression. Many studies have been done trying to determine the correlation between the two variables and in most cases the result is positive. Evidence from studies of depression and exercise shows that regular anabolic exercise positively affects people with depression, and can improve overall mental health.

Depression is a prevalent mental disorder that affects over 300 million globally. Depression comes from the late Latin word depressare and the classical Latin word deprimere. Deprimere literally means “press down”; de translates into “down” and premere translates into “to press.” In essence, the term appears to denote a feeling of heaviness, of being “pressed down,” that is also referred to as “sad,” “blue,” or simply “down.” (Kanter et al., 2008). Mental health disorders, including depression, can have a large effect on lifestyle and outlook. “Depression has been linked to a 67% increased risk of death from heart disease, and a 50% increases risk of death from cancer.” (Mental Health Association, 2018). Certain lifestyle factors can influence both the state of a person’s mental as well as physical well-being. These factors include but are not limited to; diet, exercise and smoking. It has been shown that people with depression are twice as likely to use smoking as a coping method, but the effects from it are only short term. Physical activity on the other hand is a very good coping method as it not only gets your blood moving but also can help to take your mind off of worries and help to get out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression (Laskowski, 2017). Depression can impact every area of your life including but certainly not limited to how you eat and sleep, your career and education, health, concentration and your relationships. Leaving depression untreated can lead to many complications in both a person’s personal and professional lives.

Anabolic exercise is commonly considered of as strength training, which is done to increase muscle mass. During strength training with anabolic exercise, individuals perform exercises that use weights to provide resistance. This specific type of exercise leads to more lasting lifestyle change. Anabolic reactions create complex molecules from simpler ones, often with the release of heat. Anabolic exercise focuses on the neuromuscular system, as opposed to the cardiovascular system. Within a study done in 2008, it was recommended that anabolic over aerobic exercise should be chosen and the intensity should be moderate to high performed 2-3 times a week. (Sarris et al., 2008).

Regular physical exercise is not only good for your physical health, but also has been proven to help with mental health. Exercising can boost endorphins activity in the brain, producing what is commonly referred to as a ‘runner’s high’. Daily physical exercise can help to gain confidence, get more social interaction and helps individuals to cope in a healthy way. (Laskowski, 2017). Exercise has been proven to help enhance a person’s overall sense of health and prosperity when feel-good endorphins are released. Exercise helps to bring people into contact with others in a non-clinical and positive environment. This can also help to get those who need it engaged with people who share your interest in the same or similar activities. Exercise can also help to promote positive self-esteem. Since exercise improves the way one perceives physical condition, athletic abilities and body image, it can function as a coping strategy for handling negative effects and thoughts brought on by or through depression. The release of endorphins occurs because of the chemicals produced in the brain, binding to neuro-receptors to provide relief from pain. Exercise stimulates the release of these endorphins, sending the depression-fighting, contentment building chemicals throughout the body. Thought-distracting activities such as exercise and physical activity are well known strategies for handling problems such as loneliness, as well as



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