Welcome to Chipur! If you’re struggling with a mood or anxiety disorder, you’ve come to a good place. Dig-in, okay? Thank you for stopping-by. Bill

How to Exercise for Depression & Anxiety Relief

Excercises for Anxiety

“Okay, Bill, you say to exercise at an ‘intense’ level to help relieve my depression. Heck, I’m no exercise guru – what’s ‘intense?'”

Well, I had that one coming. That was the gist of a response to an article I wrote on exercise two days ago. I believe an answer is due.

By the way, that particular piece cited research suggesting exercise worked just as well for a tough depression as a second antidepressant. Excellent stuff! Check-out some of the study results…

  • 30% of the participants (depression sufferers for whom a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor – SSRI – antidepressant hadn’t worked) achieved a full remission. 20% showed significant improvement.
  • Moderate exercise was more effective for women with a family history of emotional/mental illness.
  • Intense exercise worked better for women who had no family history.
  • For men, intense exercise always worked best.

Here’s a link to the article.

Let’s Get Physical

In response to being called on it, I think we need to take a look at the guts (ooops!) of an exercise program. But first, the disclaimer you had to know was coming.

Please be sure to connect with your doc to make sure an exercise program is right for you. You may pick-up a few restrictions, but at least you’ll know you’re safe.

FYI: My source throughout is the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

“Numbers, Bill, Numbers!?”

Adults need at least…

  • 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. And…
  • Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest,  shoulders, and arms).

Or…

  • 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity (intense) aerobic activity every week. And…
  • Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week.

Or…

  • An equivalent mix of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. And…
  • Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week.

Now, understand, you don’t have to take your exercise in large doses. Feel free to break it up into small chunks throughout the day, if you’d like. Thing is, you have to be working-out for at least 10 minutes at a time.

A great example would be going for a 10-minute brisk walk, three times a day, five days a week. Do the math. That’s 150 minutes.

If you really want to crank things up, check this out…

  • 5 hours (300 minutes) each week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. And…
  • Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week.

Or…

  • 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) each week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week.

Or…

  • An equivalent mix of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week.

Wanna’ work even harder? Have at it.

“How ‘Bout ‘Intensity?'”

So what do moderate and vigorous-intensity exercise look like?

Moderate

  • You’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. A good indicator is being able to talk, but being unable to sing the words to a song.
  • Walking fast, water aerobics, riding a bike on level ground or with a few hills, playing doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower.

Vigorous

  • You’re breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has greatly increased. A good indicator is not being able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath.
  • Jogging or running, swimming laps, riding a bike fast or on hills, playing singles tennis, playing basketball.

If you’d like to mix moderate and vigorous, here’s a handy rule of thumb. One minute of vigorous exercise is just about the same as two minutes of moderate.

“Muscle-Strengthening Activity?”

To realize benefit, muscle-strength training needs to be done to the point where it’s hard for you to do another repetition without help.  What’s a repetition? It’s one complete movement of an activity; say, lifting a weight or doing a sit-up.

A nice goal is to do 8-12 repetitions per set. And try to do at least one set, seeing if you can move up to two or three.

What can you do to strengthen those muscles?

To name a few activities: lift weights, use resistance bands, use your body weight (push ups, sit ups), heavy gardening (digging, shoveling), yoga, and more.

“But I’m Disabled, Bill.”

I understand that being disabled may complicate matters, but it doesn’t exclude you from the bennies of exercise. Yes, you’ll want to chat with your physician, and you may have to get a bit creative; however, the door’s still open.

A great resource for you is the website of The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability. Wanna’ get there? Just click here.

Workout Over!

So what do you say? That’ll do it for this particular session. I’m actually very glad the chipur reader called me on my previous article. For sure, an explanation was indicated.

And now you have it, so there’s nothing holding you back.

Enjoy the emotional, mental, and physical benefits of exercise. Get active!

More chipur Feelin’ Better articles. Well, click right here.

  • Cevos007

    Ecsercise is importent with or without medecine

  • I haven’t been here in a while, since I had to give up Viibryd, but this caught my eye.  Since I had to give up Viibryd and soon after gave up Welbutrin too because both at necessary doses really affected my blood pressure.  I’ve been making a bigger effort to do the other things that can help my mood, including exercise.  I’ve been doing more of that, more fun aerobic exercise (like dancing) or full on work outs at a level that I can handle with my Fibro (I started slow when I started with just 5 minutes / day and worked up to a point where I can now handle 30 minutes/day).  Somedays heavy house cleaning qualifies as my exercise.  In addition to the exercise, I’m making a huge effort to get out and spend time with friends and family rather than allow myself to be cooped up at home alone (something I was doing too much of before). 

    We often snub our noses at the advice to work out for our health (whether it’s physical health or mental) but I think this advice is really underrated.

    • Hi Julie! Great hearing from you again. Yes, exercise is the real deal. Do keep checking-in…

      Bill

  • Pingback: Why Exercise Equals Rx for Anxiety Relief & the Best Exercise to Beat It | What is Cardio()

  • Pingback: A Well-Deserved Shout Out | My Daily New Leaf()