Could You Exercise Your Way Out of Depression?

Jeanne Sager

Flickr photo by lululemon athletica
The last thing I want to do when I'm feeling down is get on my feet and do, well, anything.

So why are doctors suggesting the new magic pill for depression isn't a pill at all but working out?

If you can't answer that, you've apparently never worked out.

It tends to feel good, doesn't it? Even when you're miserable?

Especially when you're miserable?

I am the last woman on the planet to put on a happy face and tell you working out is fun. I trip over my own feet getting out of the shower, folks, and the Wii Fit reminded me last week that while I'm in a healthy range, I'm still 3 points above optimum BMI at the moment.

But even with my own (non-magic) depression pills in my arsenal, I have to admit that I feel better in the summer months than the winter chiefly because I move around more. The days when I put in an 8 mile walk with one of my besties are among the highlights of my postpartum period.

It's not enough to take me off my medicine, but the completion of a long walk leaves me feeling more powerful, more satisfied and I dare say happier.

Researchers at Southern Methodist University, who presented their findings at the Anxiety Disorder Association of America's meeting last month, say exercise can be used both by patients who have poor access or limited access to care for their depression and as a supplement to traditional treatments.

On the worst days of my depression, I feel like I've been left for dead. But exercise makes me feel more alive.

Now if only I had the energy to actually put my sneakers on.

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