Exercise really does boost your mood and help reduce symptoms of depression
Exercise is a bona fide mood booster for people with or without depression. If you’re down in the dumps, try climbing out by breaking a sweat.
A four-year study, found that depressed individuals who do not find relief from their medication could improve, or even go into remission, by adding in daily aerobic exercise. After 12 weeks of daily sweat sessions, 30 percent of the depressed volunteers (who had been depressed for an average of seven years) achieved full remission, while another 20 percent showed significant improvement. For men, vigorous exercise worked better than moderate levels. For women, moderate exercise, like a brisk walk, was more effective when they had a family history of mental illness. Those without a family history fared better with higher-intensity activities.
Source: J Clin Psychiatry. 2011 May;72(5):677-84. “Exercise as an augmentation treatment for nonremitted major depressive disorder: a randomized, parallel dose comparison”. Trivedi MH, Greer TL, Church TS, Carmody TJ, Grannemann BD, Galper DI, Dunn AL, Earnest CP, Sunderajan P, Henley SS, Blair SN.