Home Health How Does Fitness and Exercise Help With Depression?

How Does Fitness and Exercise Help With Depression?


Depression is a mental health disorder that causes feelings of sadness and hopelessness. It can be debilitating and interfere with daily life. While there are many treatments for depression, including medication and therapy, exercise may also help. In fact, fitness and exercise may be just as effective as antidepressants in treating depression. Here’s how it works.

How Does Depression Express Itself Physically?

Depression can manifest itself in many ways, both physically and emotionally. Physically, depression may:

  1. Reduce the Amount of Oxygen Your Brain Receives

Depression can lead to shallow and/or irregular breathing. When you’re not getting enough oxygen, it can lead to feelings of fatigue, headaches, and lightheadedness. On the other hand, exercise helps regulate breathing and can increase the amount of oxygen your brain receives.

  1. Alter Your Heart Rate

Depression can also cause an irregular heart rate that may lead to chest pain, a feeling of skipped heartbeats, or even a heart attack. Exercise can help regulate your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular health.

  1. Raise Your Blood Pressure

Depression can raise your blood pressure, which can lead to hypertension. Exercise can help lower your blood pressure by strengthening your heart and blood vessels.

  1. Weaken Your Immune System

Depression can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and other illnesses. Exercise can help boost your immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells.

  1. Affect Your Digestion

Depression can cause constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive issues. Exercise can help improve digestion by stimulating the production of gastrointestinal hormones.

  1. Cause Weight Gain or Weight Loss

Depression can cause weight gain or weight loss. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight by increasing your metabolism.

  1. Affect Your Sleep

Depression can cause insomnia or make it difficult to stay asleep. Exercise can help you sleep better by regulating your sleep cycle.

  1. Increase Your Risk of Injury

Depression can increase your risk of injury. Exercise can help reduce your risk of injury by making your muscles and bones stronger.

Benefits of Exercise for Your Mental Health

In addition to the physical benefits, exercise also provides several mental health benefits. Exercise can:

Boost Your Confidence

Exercise can boost your confidence by making you feel stronger and more capable. It can also help you look better, which can increase your self-esteem.

Increase Your Energy Levels

Depression can cause fatigue, but exercise can help increase your energy levels. This is because exercise helps your body release endorphins, which are natural mood-enhancers.

Improve Your Mood

Exercise can also improve your mood by reducing stress and anxiety. It can also increase the production of serotonin, which is a chemical that helps to regulate your mood.

Help You Focus

Depression can make it difficult to focus. Exercise can help improve your concentration by increasing blood flow to the brain.


Depression is a serious mental health disorder that can harm your physical and emotional health. Exercise is a proven treatment for depression and can provide many physical and mental health benefits. If you’re struggling with depression, talk to your doctor about starting an exercise program. Denver community center can also help get you started on an exercise program right for you. Remember, it’s never too late to start feeling better.