Will walking your dog make you happier? It’s possible. More than 25 years of medical studies have shown regular exercise can improve mood in people with depression. One study found that walking fast for 35 minutes a day, five days a week had a significant influence on mild to moderate depression symptoms. A 1999 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed aerobic exercise eased depression as much as taking a prescribed anti-depressant. What’s more, those that exercise were less likely to relapse into depression.
How does aerobic exercise help with depression? For starters, it reduces stress, a major factor in depression and anxiety. Exercise also releases brain chemicals that make you feel better. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling and act as sedatives to calm and relax you. While everyone is different and should see a doctor for treatment of depression, a brisk walk each day could be the right step to improving your mood.
“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.”
Exercise with Friends
Strong social support is important for people with depression. Go for a regular bike ride with a friend, or join a group fitness class. You’ll benefit from the physical activity and the moral support.
Walk your Dog
Exercise doesn’t have to be intense or exhausting to improve your mood and self-esteem. Moderate exercise will do the trick. A happy dog makes a great companion, and serves as motivation to walk each day.