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"Can exercise help with my depression?"

ZocdocAnswersCan exercise help with my depression?


Depression and mental problems run in my family. I have never been really depressed, but have been kind of sad lately. Could exercise make me happier?


It is well known that exercise has positive effects on our physical well-being. Research on anxiety, depression and exercise shows that it also has mental health effects that may improve your emotional well-being, such as confidence and self-image. Meeting exercise challenges can definitely boost your confidence and getting in shape can make you feel better about yourself. As well, there is evidence that exercise has antidepressant properties that can help your depression. This is because exercise triggers the production of endorphines, the natural opiates that are released by the brain cells during exercise which may improve mood. In addition, many studies have shown that exercise releases feel-good brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These are neurotransmitters that have been associated with elevated mood and it is thought that antidepressant medications work to boost these neurotransmitters and help ease your depression. Working out 30 minutes or more a day, for three to five days a week can significantly improve your depression symptoms. Please make an appointment to see a primary care doctor who will consider any medications you take and health conditions you have to recommend how much exercise and what intensity level are appropriate for you. Hope this helps. Good luck.

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