Exercise can go a long way in treating depression, according to a study at Duke University. A control group was assigned different treatments and researchers found that three sessions of vigorous aerobic exercise were about as effective as daily doses of Zoloft.
This isn’t to say that if you’re taking an antidepressant that you should stop taking it. Think of exercise as an augmentation of the medication. A separate study found that 10 months after being successfully treated with an antidepressant, the participants who continued to exercise beyond four months were half as likely to relapse as those who did not exercise.
Even as little as twenty minutes a week of physical exercise can boost mental health, which can include walking, bicycling, even gardening. Such activities, and you can figure out your own regimen, can lower the risk of distress and anxiety.
The message is clear. Get off the couch when you are feeling miserable and get into some sort of exercise. Join a gym, a walking club or a bike club. Walk with friends or walk by yourself. Work hard and feel better. Leave the couch and depression behind.