Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Treating Depression Via Endorphins

There's a reason triathlete are hooked on their sport:  endorphins.  Endorphins dull pain in the body and produce euphoria in the mind.  According to Spark, they are "the elixir of heroism, helping us ignore pain when we're physically overextended so we can finish the task at hand."  Exercise also boosts dopamine, which improves mood and feelings of wellness and jump-starts the attention system.  And don't forget serotonin, equally affected by exercise, which improving self-esteem, impulse control and learning.

Not until 1999 was a landmark study performed by Duke University to compare the effects of anti-depressant drugs versus exercise.  In the study, participants were divided into three groups: those taking Zoloft (the anti-depressant drug), exercisers, and those that were doing both.  The exercise group was assigned to supervised walking or jogging, at 70-85 percent of their aerobic capacity, for thirty minutes three times a week.  The results?  All three groups showed significant drops in depression, and about half of each group was in remission.  Another 13 percent experienced fewer symptoms.

If I'm reading that right, I'd say exercise is a wonder drug.  It doesn't cost anything to go out for a walk.  And think of the benefits of doing just that. 

Here we are at the start of a brand new year -- 2012.  Why don't you make this the year to start and keep that training plan?  Call a friend, hire a coach, or just lace up your kicks and head outside.  This is YOUR year to be healthier, happier and all-around better, drug free with an extra boost of endorphins. 

1 comment:

  1. oh i don't need any scientist to tell me. exercise cures all !!! i finally made it part of my lifestyle about 4 years ago and now if i can't exercise i can feel my emotions drop ....i currently have a broken foot and the first time i did workout (arms only) or finally getting on a stationary bike, the feeling was euphoric. i thought to myself how can anyone who CAN work out choose NOT to ?


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