Regular exercise has been shown to help prevent and treat depression.
Research shows regular aerobic and strength-training activities of light or moderate intensity can result in up to a 50 per cent reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety, especially for women and older people.
Keeping active can help in a number of ways, including:
- lifting mood
- helping people get a good night's sleep
- helping people feel more energetic and less tired
- blocking negative thoughts and/or distracting people from daily worries
- increasing social contact.
Maintaining physical activity can aid in overcoming the vicious cycle of inactivity and depression. Even though exercise can help prevent and manage depression, depressed people often have no energy or motivation. As a result, they often become less active and in turn, more depressed. The following were recommended to help Mrs Wood to stay active,
Council recreation centres - many offer free or cheap sport and recreation facilities.
Gyms - often offer a range of classes including aerobics in addition to gym equipment and swimming pools.
Neighbourhood centres - offer a large range of low-cost group activities, many of which focus on staying active. These may include aerobics, yoga, dancing and walking groups. Information can be obtained through local government councils.
Family and Friends - people with depression often feel like spending less time around people, increasing their sense of isolation and making it harder for them to recover from depression. It's important for people with depression to continue to take part in activities with family and close friends and to accept social invitations, even though they may not feel like it. Planning to do things with other people can also help someone with depression to stay motivated.