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Why Running and Exercise Help Depression

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I “needed” to exercise. It makes me feel good, and it makes me a much more pleasant person to be around. I have my moments where the simple fact of the matter is I need to move my body in order to clear my head. While I haven’t been diagnosed with depression, I often wonder if that might change if I was unable to exercise. It makes that much of a difference for me mentally. Apparently, I am not alone. Here’s why running and exercise help depression. 

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First of all, I’m not a doctor and I can’t and shouldn’t diagnose anyone. Including myself. Ahem.

But I do think this information can be helpful for many, especially in conjunction with talking to your healthcare provider about your situation. Maybe you can use this as an opening to discuss your mental health situation with your MD? 

“Hey doc, I read on this blog…” THEY LOVE THAT! (no, no they do not! ha!) 

That being said, see if any of this sounds familiar to you!

Why Running and Exercise Help Depression

I found this infographic from HealthPerch and felt it explained so much!

Women are 70% more likely to be affected by depression.

I get it.

I’m guessing most women do, especially if they are juggling relationships and children, households and jobs. 

Or lacking those things in your life can cause stress and depression. It all adds up and can be overwhelming… and can just suck you down. 

girl running in headphones

If you, like me, find yourself struggling some days maybe it’s time to take a walk.

I do this all. the. time.

No pressure to run, just a reminder that getting out and going for a walk will leave me feeling more like myself. 

Research shows people that walk 3 miles an hour have the least amount of depression. 

Feeling blue? Go for a walk! 

I used to spend my 15-minute breaks at work walking around the outside of my building. It made a world of difference in my demeanor.

I also found it interesting that there’s a magic number. 

2-4 hours a week is great; anything over 7.5 hours is no bueno.

In other words: you do not have to be running ultras to see benefits in your mental health from exercise. 

You don’t have to go long, hard, or fast: you just need to go.

I’m a believer. 

I know it’s made a huge difference in my life and strive to get 30-40 minutes of endorphins and neurotransmitters flowing every day. 

My four-legged friend loves it too. 

dog walking on a leash

My family can tell when I haven’t made it to the gym or out for the walk. Especially if it happens a few days in a row. 

Oh Boy, Oh Boy- it’s not pretty when that happens. Yikes!

If you need help getting started, here are 5 ways to make exercise a habit that I think will help you get moving!

Move Your Way to Better Mental Health

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What do you think about Running & Exercise?  Do you see an improvement in your mental health when you get your exercise on?

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Tuesday 10th of June 2014

I completely and totally agree with this post. Getting outside to move (running, walking, some combo of the two) is a sincere high point of my day. My big bonus is that it often brings clarity when I've got a nagging issue or concern.


Tuesday 10th of June 2014

YES! That too. I also sleep MUCH better when I've had some specific and sustained movement.

April at RunTheGreatWideSomewhere

Tuesday 10th of June 2014

Great post. I know when I can't or don't workout/run that I become a hot mess. My mood just tanks and I get pretty unhappy. A good reminder of why to keep at it!


Tuesday 10th of June 2014

I didn't work out today and I'm feeling it! Going to walk when the sun goes down.

Jennifer Lefforge

Tuesday 10th of June 2014

You KNOW I'm a believer in this. Great post. Running has most definitely saved my mental health. No question.


Tuesday 10th of June 2014

Thanks for linking up Jennifer! And thank you for the kind words!

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