Taking Depression to the Gym

For years people have gone to the gym in search of the perfect body. Now, you can lift those weights to build an improved mind.

Recent research has shown that exercise can grow new brain cells and that participating in resistance exercises can offer a way to improve people’s memory, mood and energy levels. For people living with diseases such as depression this means participating in a well designed exercise program can provide better sleep and a significantly improved ability to participate in activities that enhance the quality of their life, such as remembering where the keys are, playing with the family, working, painting or gardening. It has been known for years that there is a link between depression and exercise, however many believed the positive effects to be a result of the social interaction, improved body image or increased endorphins. What we are now discovering is that exercise has much bigger role to play. Exercise is proving to be an effective treatment as it stimulates brain regeneration with the growth of new neurons and neurotransmitters. Surprisingly this is a very similar effect to taking antidepressants.

Because one of the characteristics of depression is reduced motivation levels, exercise can be a challenging treatment. And let's face it, even without depression many of the people I know don't like gyms. It's therefore important that you get professional advice and support to help you participate in exercise. If you have depression and are considering an exercise program discuss it with your GP. You can get assistance from an accredited Exercise Physiologist to help you with designing a program either for at home or the gym and they are also trained to help with your motivation levels. For more information see www.aaess.com.au and www.enrichedhealth.com.au

Simon Turnbull BHMS AAESS AEP
Exercise Physiologist
Enriched Health Care