How to defeat depression and stress with exercise

If you’re feeling blue or anxious, there’s some good news: stress and chronic depression can be reduced with regular exercises. Even 15 to 20 minutes a day of physical activity such as jogging, running, swimming and other aerobic exercise can decrease levels of stress and depression. Exercise also relieves anxiety, pre-menstrual syndrome and nervousness. Regular exercise will help generate a good mood and improve overall physical and mental health.

How to defeat depression and stress with exercise

Running Helps the Brain Cope with Stress

Running is an aerobic exercise that can be done anywhere and by individuals of any fitness level. The term “runner’s high” refers to the cheerful or even euphoric feeling after a long run. According to the American Psychological Association, exercise such as running may boost levels of the chemical neurotransmitter norepinephrine which helps the brain cope with stress.

Aerobic Exercise Improves Mood

Aerobic activities such as kickboxing are high intensity exercises that improve mood and help to eliminate chronic depression. As outlined in a study published in the journal Exercise and Sports Science Reviews, regular, strenuous physical activity increases neuromodulators such as epinephrine and norepinephrine that boost hormones to promote feelings of happiness and help protect the brain from stress. A kickboxing class can help to motivate regular physical activity and make working out a fun social event.

Weight Bearing Exercises Improve Depression

The American Psychological Association advises that the important factor is that physical activity be regular; it does not matter how long you spend exercising. Therefore it is important to get some strenuous exercise once or twice a day. According to author and depression and exercise researcher, Kenneth H. Cooper M.D., weight bearing exercises can help depression. Exercising by lifting light weights or using a weight bench can improve mood and promote a feeling of well-being. Cooper recommends exercising with light hands weights in repetitions of ten twice a day.

Yoga Poses Help Relieve Tension

defeat depression and stress with exercise

Though yoga can be less strenuous and slower paced than aerobic exercises, it can also help to decrease depression, anxiety and stress because it promotes relaxing, stretching movements that require focus and concentration. This form of exercise combines physical activity with meditation and stillness for help to relax and recharge.

How Exercise Can Boost Self Confidence

You are the guardian who holds the key to opening the door to your own inner confidence. As the key master, a great way to jump-start that process is through exercise and physical activity. Not only does exercise provide significant health benefits and aids in weight loss, but the psychological perks of exercise are astronomical.


When you exercise, your body produces endorphins, a chemical released in your brain that combats stress and pain, and provides mood enhancement and a sense of well-being. In fact, studies have shown that consistent physical activity protects against the onset of depression.The Physical Activity Guideline Advisory Committee reported that on average, active people had nearly 45% lower odds of depression-like symptoms than did inactive people. By taking advantage of these exercise highs, you can acquire a new positive self-perspective. And the best part is, since endorphins are so powerful, exercise can become addicting and something you look forward to. By developing this cycle of activity, you can begin to stand tall, confident and hold an unwavering belief in yourself.

Perks of Exercise

The mere act of physical activity, whether it is a strenuous aerobic activity or even a meandering stroll through the park can be empowering and motivating. Exercise generates a feeling of accomplishment, and thus heightens your self-image. By doing something active you are giving both your body and mind a makeover.

Exercise is also known to boost sex drive and relieve stress and anxiety. It acts as a venue where you can feel triumphant, and good about yourself, and exercise can give you a sense of earned pride since you are doing something beneficial for your body, mind and soul.

Track your Success


A great way to track your success is to keep a journal of your self confidence triumphs. When did you overcome a feeling of doubt? How did it make you feel? By writing down your thoughts and feelings, you can recognize the progress you have made and it allows you to identify areas in which you can continue to improve your self morale. Note daily or weekly activities you accomplished and pen down goals for the following week. Having ambitions brings drive, meaning, and purpose to your life. Having motivation and determination is a gateway to self worth and physical exercise provides the means to get you there.

Need ideas for activities:

Join a class at your gym (yoga, dance, Pilates, jump rope, spinning, weight lifing)
Get outside—throw the frisbee, do yard-work, take the dog on a new path
Join a sports league (flag-football, softball, 3on3 basketball)
Play with your kids and keep up
Take a friend to the gym
Try something new (kickboxing, dance, swim)–Get Creative

The couch and cookie jar doesn’t hold the same appeal. So the next time you have an option to veg out or do something active, remember the self-worth you will feel when you unlace your sneakers and wipe the sweat off your face after that satisfying workout.