Research indicates that exercise and physical well-being are paramount to a healthy mind. A healthy lifestyle is proven to improve positivity and general wellbeing of people suffering from depression.
“There is strong evidence that regular exercise can help combat depression, lifting mood by providing an alternative focus for the mind and stimulating the release of endorphins - naturally produced chemicals that make you feel happier - in the brain,” says Simon Lawton-Smith, Head of Policy at the Mental Health Foundation.
Research in 2007 by the mental health charity, Mind, found that after a walk in a country park, 71% of people reported a decrease in depression and 90% had increased self-esteem. Even five minutes of exercise can have a positive effect on the individual.
Depression sufferer Jade Jennings, 40, from London, was encouraged to join a ‘boxercise’ class after she became involved with Mind. The 10-week course was designed by three times world boxing champion Duke McKenzie, who Jade credits with helping her to beat the blues.
She said: “When you’re in the ring with him he makes you smile, he encourages you, then you realise you’re not just getting rid of anger that you feel inside, but that you’re learning these combinations, and it’s all a positive thing. I call him my tonic.”