Motivating yourself to exercise while depressed

You’ve heard it before: Exercise is crucial for mental health.

That concept is in the news again now because a recent study found exercise can help prevent heart disease in depressed people. The results aren’t surprising, but they come along with some great tips from the researcher who led the study.

He points out that exercise reduces inflammation, which plays a critical role in depression. Especially for people whose depression is linked to diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, or other health conditions, exercise may be just what the doctor should order.

“There is value to not starting a medication if it’s not needed,” the researcher says. “Being active and getting psychotherapy are sometimes the best prescription, especially in younger patients who don’t have severe depression.”

Here are his tips for helping overcome the lack of motivation that often comes with depression:

  • Set aside a consistent time to exercise every day, but do not get discouraged by stretches of inactivity. Resume activities as soon as possible.
  • Keep a log to track progress.
  • Vary the exercises to avoid monotony. Keep the workout interesting and fun.
  • Exercise with a friend.
  • Task someone with holding you accountable for maintaining the exercise regimen.

I love these tips and may try implementing some myself!

Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. If you would like to discuss the information in this blog further with her, please call 208-918-0958. She sees adolescents and adults. Information in this blog is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider about decisions regarding your health.

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