Movement as Medicine – How Increasing Activity Decreases Depression

Movement as Medicine – How Increasing Activity Decreases Depression

From managing weight to decreased risk for chronic health concerns, most people have heard that movement is medicine that keeps them healthy. What many people don’t know is that movement is also proven to be beneficial for people who are struggling with mood disorders like depression. You can learn more about how movement helps to counter the effects of depression on this page, or by chatting with one of the knowledgeable therapists at Lansing Counseling.

Why Does Movement Help with Depression?

Depression and other disordered moods have a tendency to feed upon themselves and grow bigger and bigger. Depression, especially, can zap the energy out people, so they don’t want to do anything. The less they make themselves do, the more depressed they feel. That’s why depression is so often depicted with a person who doesn’t want to get out of bed or off of their couch. Lack of movement feeds the depressed mood, leading to an increased sense of depression. Exercising, or just completing small movement-based tasks like making the bed, can counter some of the negative effects of depression by activating other parts of our bodies and brains. When we feel depressed and we lay in bed, listen to sad music, and avoid the world, we’re feeding the depression. When we feel depressed, and we put on an upbeat song, make our bed, and go for a walk, the depression recedes a little. If you’re feeling depressed and doing all of those some things in one day seems overwhelming, that’s okay. You can start really small and still see the benefits.

What Kind of Movement Helps?

Any kind of movement is better than no movement at all! We will typically recommend that our clients do something they enjoy. If you don’t like running, don’t force yourself to run. Maybe you like to dance. So, turn up the music and dance for a few minutes a day. If you enjoy the moving, you’re more likely to keep doing it. Studies have shown that synchronizing your own movements with another person’s can make you feel a greater sense of accomplishment. So, consider following along with a streaming workout video, joining a class, or just taking a walk with a friend or loved one.

How Do I Get Started?

Do you know the old proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?” That’s really applicable here. Start small. You don’t need to run a marathon to see improvement in your depression symptoms. Many therapists recommend beginning with a single task you can do every day – even when you don’t feel like it. Make your bed. Take a shower. Do the dishes. Take a walk around the block. Pick one, small task you can complete each day, and do it. Then, start adding in more movement.

What if I Still Need Some Help Dealing with Depression?

That’s okay! Movement doesn’t magically cure depression. It’s just one way that you can support your goals to achieve a greater sense of fulfillment, motivation, and purpose and decrease the impact of depression on your daily life. Working with a therapist is still an essential aspect of most treatment plans to address the effects of depression. If you’re looking for a therapist who can help with depression, look no further. Get in touch with us at Lansing Counseling. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Contact Lansing Counseling to schedule a counseling session:

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Lansing Counseling

Lansing Counseling

5030 Northwind Dr Suite 101
East Lansing, MI 48823

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