” You name it. Walking cures it.”Leslie Sansone
In this series, we will be reviewing the “Treatments That Work” workbook, ” Overcoming Depression.” The intention will be to highlight key skills that can be helpful in easing the difficulties experienced from depression. As a recap, BEAST is the mnemonic used to not only give a picture of the burden of depression, but also give a framework of how to conquer it. BEAST stands for Body, Emotion, Action, Situation, and Thoughts.
In the last post, we reviewed the ways in which nutrition and depression are intertwined. Today, we will talk about how depression affects and is affected by physical activity.
This wouldn’t be the Body segment of this blog series without mentioning physical activity. Before we start getting into exercise, let’s review how activity of any kind is affected by Depression. Do you remember SIGECAPS, the mnemonic for the symptoms of depression? SIGECAPS stands for Sleep ( decreased or increased), Interest ( decreased), Guilt, Energy (decreased), Concentration (decreased), Appetite ( increased or decreased), Psychomotor ( slowed down, or more keyed up), and Suicide ( thoughts, plans, intentions, attempts). Thus, depression affects your energy, concentration, interest, and speed. So if you’re feeling down, don’t be so hard on yourself about not being peppy and pumped up. It’s hard enough to get moving when you’re not depressed.
Nevertheless, I’m not writing to give you excuses. I’m writing to give you hope. Depressed or not, it’s time to get moving!
Why?… Because exercise is medicine! There are some studies that exercise can be as effective as prescribed medications for mild depression and anxiety. This benefit extends to almost any illness. Name a condition and it is likely exercise will help. Scientists believe that exercise heals by reducing muscle tension, improving sleep, and decreasing stress hormones.
So what’s next? Taking the first step. Most results happen with regular moderate exercise and improve with more rigorous activity. Don’t let this intimidate you. Getting started ,at your pace, are the first steps to wellness. Here are some of my favorite hacks to getting started.
1) Count everything- I used to get frustrated with housework and running after kids. However, viewing chores as exercise may be the most natural way to get started. You can burn an average of 150 calories an hour or more depending on your weight and type of activity.
2) Walk- Waking is one of my favorite options to keep active, rain or shine. My husband teases me, but I love walking-at-home videos on YouTube. They are more like low impact workouts than mindlessly walking in place. I also recommend walking wherever you can and making opportunities to walk. I love to go to zoos, theme parks, botanical gardens, malls, and museums because those are places where you don’t feel the steps.
3) Get help and motivation- You’re not alone in wanting to feel better. Getting active with people that will hold you accountable is key. It’s not weak to ask your doctor for help with finding the right exercise program or getting a personal trainer.
Don’t forget, please inform your physician before starting any exercise program.
My Favorite Walking at Home Youtube Channels
Walk at Home with Leslie Sansone– I’ve loss many pounds with these videos over the years. It’s always my go to for getting started
Up to the BEat Fit– I’ve started watching her videos and LOVE them. The Queen and Mama Mia walks are everything!!!
Noom- This weight loss and maintenance program utilizes psychology to make the weight come off and stay off. I feel the program is worth the price because you get both individual and group support to meet your goals. Use this LINK for an additional 20% off!
The skills in this blog post were adapted from:
Gilson, M., & Freeman, A. (2009). Overcoming Depression: A Cognitive Therapy Approach Therapist Guide. Oxford University Press, USA. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=biqG28mZFYIC