Depression vs. Fitness

For many of us depression can steal our motivation and pack on unwanted pounds or even force us to lose unwanted weight. The thought of exercising and improving our self esteem isn't an issue. Depressed individuals often spend countless hour dreaming about a new improved life. The issue or battle is getting started and staying motivated. This is where depression often crushes dreams. However, in the battle of depression vs. fitness, fitness will prevail! The health benefits of fitness go far beyond the physical. What exercise is proven to do for us mentally is long documented. So how can you get started and stay motivated. Here are few tips that might help: • Identify what you enjoy doing. Figure out what type of physical activities you're most likely to do, and think about when and how you'd be most likely to follow through. For instance, would you be more likely to do some gardening in the evening, start your day with a jog, or go for a bike ride or play basketball with your children after school? Do what you enjoy to help you stick with it. • Get your mental health provider's support. Talk to your doctor or other mental health provider for guidance and support. Discuss an exercise program or physical activity routine and how it fits into your overall treatment plan. • Set reasonable goals. Your mission doesn't have to be walking for an hour five days a week. Think realistically about what you may be able to do and begin gradually. Tailor your plan to your own needs and abilities rather than trying to meet unrealistic guidelines that you're unlikely to meet. • Don't think of exercise or physical activity as a chore. If exercise is just another "should" in your life that you don't think you're living up to, you'll associate it with failure. Rather, look at your exercise or physical activity schedule the same way you look at your therapy sessions or medication - as one of the tools to help you get better. • Analyze your barriers. Figure out what's stopping you from being physically active or exercising. If you feel self-conscious, for instance, you may want to exercise at home. If you stick to goals better with a partner, find a friend to work out with or who enjoys the same physical activities that you do. If you don't have money to spend on exercise gear, do something that's cost-free, such as regular walking. If you think about what's stopping you from being physically active or exercising, you can probably find an alternative solution. • Prepare for setbacks and obstacles. Give yourself credit for every step in the right direction, no matter how small. If you skip exercise one day, that doesn't mean you can't maintain an exercise routine and might as well quit. Just try again the next day. Stick with it. *Article credited to the Mayo Clinic, find more here at

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