How Good is Exercise Therapy for Depression?
Did you ever hear of exercise therapy for depression?
You know about antidepressants and shock treatment for depression.
You have heard people tell you to just suck it up and feel better.
What Is The Best Exercise Therapy for Depression?
If exercises can help depression, which is the best exercise?
The best exercises for depression are the ones that you will do consistently.
And most likely, the effective exercises are going to be the ones that you enjoy and feel are helping you fight depression.
So, before you run out to get Prozac, try weight lifting to lift your mood.
Weight training is among the most powerful antidepressant activities you can do.
And of all weight training exercises, deadlifts and squats are the best exercise therapy for depression.
Lift Weights to Help Lift the Weight of Depression
How heavy is the weight of depression?
A lot heavier than actual weights you can find in a gym.
Barbell weights, if done correctly, will make you stronger in body and mind.
The weight of depression will make you sicker in your mind and body.
It is ironic that physical weight lifting can help remove the mental weight that you carry due to depression.
You know that starting a workout program can help improve your physique.
But, how many people realize that when your mood is low, a few sets of squats and deadlifts might be the best prescription?
Squats and Deadlifts as Exercise Therapy for Depression
Weight lifting is more than just building your body, it can help build your mind and spirit as well.
It is never too late to get stronger – no matter what your age.
When I first discovered deadlifts a few years ago, I was puzzled by the value of doing deadlifts.
I also thought that it was impossible for me to even attempt deadlifts being that I was already 56 years old.
Who is going to start a deadlift workout program once they are over the age of 50?
I did not know much about deadlifting other than having seen the deadlift done in the Olympics.
As a result, I thought the deadlift is purely for the Olympics.
Fast forward several decades when I first walked into the Vanderbilt YMCA weight room on 48th street and second avenue in New York City.
I had already made a radical change in my diet by switching from processed to real foods and I was losing weight but not gaining much muscle if any.
I had read in various places that building muscle can help with fat loss, so being a former 275lb ‘fat bastard’ as I was routinely called by a neighborhood friend (he was teasing, but it still hurt!), I also wanted to see if I could get stronger.
Absolute Beginner Deadlifting
Initially, I started to deadlift with a 50-pound bar.
I remember that the first week after doing deadlifts with a 50-pound bar, I felt so stiff and Charley horsed, I could barely walk.
Also, I was terrified of hurting my back, because I already had a lower back strain several years before and was fearful of a recurrence.
Based on what I read, deadlifts are safe and even good for strengthening your back and adding muscle, as long as you use proper form.
Nevertheless, I still balked at doing any deadlifts because I felt embarrassed and why bother even trying?
But, I ignored those self-doubts and kept deadlifting once or twice a week, and the amount of weight that I could deadlift kept increasing.
I was surprised because I figured that once you hit 50, do not expect that you can get stronger.
But that is not true, I have been increasing deadlift strength slowly because I always want to use the best form possible when deadlifting.
Today, I deadlifted 205 pounds.
Deadlifting 205 pounds is a powerful milestone because it demonstrates that you can get stronger no matter what.
This new mark of 205 pounds represents that we can improve our physical health with weights and even help manage depression with deadlifts, especially for those with treatment-resistant depression.
I am grateful that I have gotten to this point and hope that anyone else out there who is overweight, obese, fat and depressed, will consider checking out the many benefits of deadlifting.
Never Give Up!
Squats and Deadlifts vs Antidepressants
How I wish that my doctor first prescribed exercise therapy for depression.
I might still have my original career.
I am confident that I would not have become an insomniac and would not have endured years of nightmares, sweats, and loss of feeling.
Suicidal ideation would not have become a constant presence in my mind.
As long as I ingested the antidepressant cocktails whipped up by the experts, I suffered many negative side effects.
Exercise Therapy for Depression – Final Thoughts
So, if you are now dealing with depression.
If you are struggling with the bottomless pit of depressive thoughts.
Before you fill the prescriptions for the antidepressants of the day.
For your own sake, try exercise therapy for depression.
And, if you hate weightlifting, try something else.
Explore running, swimming, tennis, karate, something that gets you moving.
Not everyone has treatment-resistant depression.
But for those who do, exercise therapy for depression can be your salvation.
At the least, exercise can help you manage your depression.
Take the edge off.
Reduce the likelihood of suicidal ideation.
If you are facing the scourge of depression, get moving.
Get into a gym, or get outside for a walk.
Buy a bench and some dumbells.
And, if you do exercise therapy for depression, whatever the exercise(s) are, and it helps.
Please share your story here.
My two cents is that squats and deadlifts are the best exercise therapy for depression.
But, everyone is different, what are your two cents?
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