Around one in 10 Americans suffer from depression, and most people can take medication for the condition. However, other forms of treatment, such as exercise, can also help. According to Dr. Michael Craig Miller, exercise can help some people with depression, though it’s not enough for everyone.


What Exercise Can Do

Getting active is a biological process that starts with events that can improve one’s health, such as lowering blood pressure and protecting against diabetes and heart disease. High-intensity exercise also releases endorphins, which are the body’s feel-good chemicals.


For most people, the real value of exercise is when it’s sustained over time. This activity can stimulate the release of neurotrophic factors, which can help nerve cells grow and make new connections. 


According to researchers, people who are suffering from depression may have a smaller hippocampus, which helps regulate their mood.

According to Dr. Miller, exercise can stimulate the growth of nerve cells in the hippocampus, which helps relieve depression.


How To Begin

Depression can manifest in various ways, such as reduced energy, increased pain perception, disturbed sleep, and changes in appetite. These can prevent people from being motivated to exercise. However, Dr. Miller says that it’s important to start with a little bit of exercise to help break the cycle. For people who are already feeling depressed, start with five minutes of walking or any activity that you enjoy.


What Should You Do?

It’s not clear how long you should exercise before nerve cell recovery begins, which will help with your depression symptoms. But you should start feeling better within a couple of weeks after starting. This is a long-term treatment, and it’s important to remember that it’s not a one-time fix. To maintain a steady improvement, choose something that you can sustain for a long time.


If you’re looking for a way to gradually improve your overall health and reduce symptoms of depression, consider asking your doctor if creating an exercise regimen is a viable option for you. If you’re not sure where to start, consulting a physician about what level of activity is right for you can be a great place to begin.