Managing Depression Naturally Through Exercise and a Healthy Lifestyle There are numerous benefits associated with exercising regularly and living a balanced lifestyle. Some commonly cited benefits include Lower blood pressureIncreased energyStrengthened heartStronger bones However, there are other ways that regular exercise can help you battle mood disorders. For example, individuals who work out regularly will tend to have more success with weight loss which will contribute to a more positive self image. Exerting yourself physically will also help you feel a greater sense of accomplishment and may increase confidence in your own abilities. However, before embarking on a new fitness regimen, it is helpful to fully understand how exercise is believed to help manage depression. The biological impact of exercise Your body produces a natural type of antidepressant called endorphins. When you exercise, endorphins are released which contributes to that good feeling that you experience after a workout. Many people also find that rather than feeling tired or worn out after a strenuous work out, their energy levels have actually increased. When you exercise, your body will also release more serotonin and dopamine while decreasing the level of stress hormones. Exercises that are more effective at reducing symptoms of depression Although all types of exercises are believed to be beneficial when dealing with depression, it has been found that the results are more pronounced with high impact aerobics and cardiovascular exercises. Similar results are also believed to be true for different types of resistance training. The intensity of the aerobics is generally measured by an individual’s heart rate. However, this rate will vary depending on factors such as age. Your maximum heart rate is calculated as 220 – age. Therefore, high intensity workouts have a higher heart rate target as a percentage of your maximum heart rate. High intensity cardio workouts are usually characterized by a target heart rate between fifty to eighty percent. The reason why higher impact fitness is believed to benefit individuals suffering from depression is because exercise routines that are more rigorous tend to release higher levels of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin. Professionals believe that all you need is roughly thirty minutes of exercise per day to notice its positive effects. Although you will usually feel the positive benefits immediately after working out, it could take at least two months before you begin to notice the positive effects it has on mood disorders such as depression. How to Choose a Fitness Regimen That is Right for You Before embarking on a fitness routine, you must first understand what your boundaries and limitations are. If you are elderly or battling with health conditions such as obesity, it is a good idea to consult with a physician before starting your new routine. They will also be able to recommend different exercise equipment and routines that are suitable for your condition.