Depression and Exercise

At Optimum our Exercise Physiologists have expertise in prescribing exercise for a broad range of conditions which you may or may not be aware of. We assist with injury rehabilitation, weight loss, improving your eating habits, neurological conditions (multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease) cardiac health, but did you know that exercise is fantastic for mental health. Let’s talk about depression. With 3 million Australians living with depression or anxiety it is a silent but very common issue. So first, what is it?

Clinical depression is diagnosed by the presence of one or more core symptoms:

· Dysphoric mood or sadness characterized by “feeling blue”

· Loss of interest or pleasure in almost all usual activities

Major depression is characterized by one of the above symptoms plus four other symptoms including sleep and appetite changes, agitation or slowing, poor concentration or indecisiveness, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, lack of energy or recurrent suicidal thoughts.

Why Exercise as part of treatment?

Exercise has been shown to help increase dopamine levels within the brain, similar to medication, without side effects including, confusion, sexual dysfunction or dizziness. It can also provide a physical outlet for patients assisting to get out some frustration.

Research shows that any setting for exercise (gyms, group, supervised or home settings) can be beneficial and none more so than others, however attendance levels may be higher during supervised sessions as we perform at Optimum.

What Kind of Exercise Program

Weight/ resistance based exercise programs have shown to yield greater results than cardiovascular programs alone. Programs should be performed 3 x per week minimum. This may include 2-3 sessions with your Optimum trainer as well as a home exercise program for 2 sessions through the rest of the week to help supplement your efforts at our studios. At Optimum we ensure that each client has a tailored program to suit their specific requirements whether that be to combat depression alone or in combination with weight loss, injury rehabilitation any other condition that we are managing.

Optimum and Depression

As many of you know at Optimum we pride ourselves on helping every one of our clients manage their health and achieve their health goals. We encourage each of our clients to speak with your trainers so that we can help you live your life to the fullest. The fitter you are the better you feel. The fitter you are the more productive you are throughout the day. And the fitter you are the more likely you will get out and do something (this is half the battle when you suffer from depression). Subsequently, the fitter you are the happier you are. If you think that exercise could be part of the solution for you, come in and see us. Having your very own fitness coach is the best accountability you can have and let’s do this together.

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