Exercise – the best antidepressant

Being chronically anxious and stressed, to a point where it starts affecting your health is not healthy. And being anxious or depressed and sedentary at the same time makes the whole situation all the more complicated. Not only does it lead to weight gain, it also slows down metabolism and causes stress eating... you end up having a lot of unused energy that should ideally be spent exercising or walking.

Depression and anxiety are becoming a huge problem for human health because it upsets the entire hormonal balance. One of the best ways out of this mess is exercise.


Physical movement stimulates the production of happy hormones called endorphins. Heard of “runners high”? It’s exactly that. And mind you, exercise doesn’t have to be a gym session or heavy functional training. Something as simple as a 10-15 minute walk amid nature can give you all the benefits. Endorphins are also natural pain killers.


The first thing that goes out of balance when we are stressed is our breath. It becomes quick and shallow. We either exhibit short breathing patterns or are hyperventilating. This means less oxygen going in and more carbon dioxide storage, which is why it can make us feel dizzy and nauseous. Some may even undergo an anxiety attack and pass out.
So, bringing our breath back to balance is the first step towards managing stress. Breathing is one of the quickest ways to bring our bodies from a state of “fight and flight” to a state of “rest and digest”. When you break into exercise, you start breathing better which means you start taking in more oxygen. The more oxygen you inhale, the more balanced are your levels of cortisol, progesterone, testosterone, estrogen, and androgens.


Generally, when you are depressed, you tend to focus on all the negatives. You form a shell around yourself and start to move deeper and deeper into that shell. Hence, distraction can be very useful. It could be going out, speaking to a friend, listening to music, reading a book or even exercising. If you start engaging in walking or yoga or even mild stretching, you immediately create a distraction. If you are lucky and live in a place where there is contact with nature, even better. It brings instant calmness that is going to lessen your anxiety immediately.
At the same time, it is necessary to practice balance and moderation even with exercise, especially if you are using it as a tool to manage your stress levels.
There are some people who end up burning out through exercise. This is not a good thing because over-exercising can only add up to more stress. Listen to your body, know when to stop and focus on adequate rest and recovery.


Bringing our breath back to balance is the first step towards managing stress. Breathing is one of the quickest ways to bring our bodies from a state of “fight and flight” to “rest and digest”.

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