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Depression symptoms: Natural remedies

Depression symptoms: Natural remedies


Exercise to lift your mood  

Exercise © Goodshoot - Depression symptoms: Natural remedies
Exercise © Goodshoot
Philip Weeks is an expert herbalist and acupuncturist and recommends exercise as a natural alternative to depression symptom allelivation.

He says: "Exercise for one hour, three times a week. It can be as effective as taking antidepressants."

Dr Annabel Bentley Medical Director, Bupa Health and Wellbeing explains why exercise and beating depression go hand in hand.

When it comes to improving the symptoms of depression, exercise can help in the following ways:
  • Pysical activity increases the release of chemicals (eg endorphins and enkaphalins) in our bodies that promote feelings of well-being and pain relief.
  • Regular exercise can improve the way you look and boost your self-esteem.
  • Exercise can divert your attention from negative thoughts and give you something positive to focus on, providing new goals and a sense of purpose.
  • Involvement in a social sport helps you to be more active, meet new people and develop relationships, which can combat and prevent depression.
The importance of exercise in the fight against depression cannot be underestimated. Dr Annabel Bentley says: "Exercise may be just as effective at treating depression as antidepressant medicines.

"Many studies claim that being physically active may be a helpful way to tackle depression. Physical exercise appears to help people feel better by improving moods, reducing anxiety, improving concentration, enhancing their view of themselves,
reducing stress, improving sleep."
What kind of physical exercise is most helpful for treating depression?
Aerobic activities such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming and dancing are good examples of exercise which can be effective for treating depression.

Resistance exercises, such as weight lifting, may be useful for helping you to build up a better self-image whilst team sports can help develop you new friendships.

Going to a gym or sports centre doesn’t appeal to everyone, but the good news is that there are alternatives such as "green gyms".

They provide people of all ages alternative ways of getting active, giving them the opportunity to work out in the open air through local, practical environmental or gardening work.
How much physical exercise do you need to do to get the benefit?

Daily physical activity lasting between 20 and 60 minutes can help to improve your psychological well-being.

But even shorter bouts of moderate intensity walking (10 to 15 minutes) can also significantly improve your mood.

People with depression may be recommended to follow a structured and supervised exercise programme of up to three sessions per week (lasting 45 minutes to one hour), for between 10 and 12 weeks, but bear in mind that if you haven't been physically active for a while, and if you have serious medical conditions then you may need to get professional advice before starting new activities.


Health and Fitness Editor
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