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Does working out affect mood?

I've had mild to severe depressions for years, but I don't want to take medication for it. I dislike therapists, and I'd much rather try to solve this myself.
I've read that maintaining an active excercise regimen helps some people...anybody with personal experince of this? It'd give me one more incentive to stick to may plan.

Sat. Nov 3, 10:23pm

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Yes working out improves your mood. Keep up the good work!

It is like taking an anti-depressive medication. It helps kick in your endorphins.

Our Living Language : Endorphins are long chains of amino acids, or polypeptides, that are able to bind to the neuroreceptors in the brain and are capable of relieving pain in a manner similar to that of morphine. There are three major types of endorphins: beta-endorphins are found almost entirely in the pituitary gland, while enkephalins and dynorphins are both distributed throughout the nervous system. Scientists had suspected that analgesic opiates, such as morphine and heroin, worked effectively against pain because the body had receptors that were activated by such drugs. They reasoned that these receptors probably existed because the body itself had natural painkilling compounds that also bonded to those receptors. When scientists in the 1970s isolated a biochemical from a pituitary gland hormone that showed analgesic properties, Choh Li, a chemist from Berkeley, California, named it endorphin, meaning "the morphine within." Besides behaving as a pain reducer, endorphins are also thought to be connected to euphoric feelings, appetite modulation, and the release of sex hormones. Prolonged, continuous exercise contributes to an increased production of endorphins and, in some people, the subsequent "runner's high."

Saturday, November 03, 2007, 11:09 PM

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I know it helps me.

Saturday, November 03, 2007, 11:19 PM

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My husband treats his anxiety with a 20-minute daily run.

It allows him to sleep at night, fly when necessary, and not worry that he'll someday have another panic attack (he had two within a few weeks of each other years ago).

Do it. It can't hurt you.

Saturday, November 03, 2007, 11:30 PM

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Sweet. I'm the OP. Makes for a huge morale boost to hear(read) positive feedback!!!!!

Sunday, November 04, 2007, 1:22 AM

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I have been on and off depressed my whole life. I get into a phase when I am just like "what's the point", why should i even bother getting up, going to school/ work. worry about what i wear- blah, blah. But if I can get outside and walk in the brisk air, man I am so much happier. th eother day there was a little boy doing twirls down the sidewalk, I started doing them too. It was too much fun. just getting my mind away from everything else and knowing that I am doing something good for myself is awesome. Then when I lose weight, my confidence builds and it is fun to get dressed again. I also do weights, which increases my confidence- love to see my muscles work, but I get the "happies" from cardio outside...

Monday, November 05, 2007, 3:28 PM

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Most definitely. I suffer from depression (I've seen therapists since I was 8) and working out really helps my mood. It really works the best if I exercise in the morning. It really keeps me upbeat for the rest of the day!!
One note: the endorphin rush is great at first but it can decrease over time and you won't get that "high" after a while. Mix things up by adding in new activities after a few months.
Trying things like yoga or pilates might help, too, especially with worrying and anxiety.

Monday, November 05, 2007, 4:13 PM

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I competely agree with the above posters. I don't think I suffer from depression, but I'm a pretty anxious person. Exercising is one of the ways I manage this stress, and it works for me to workout at the end of the day after things have built up. Helps release negative energy, I'm better focused, sleep better, etc. Try it, it'll work!

Monday, November 05, 2007, 4:18 PM

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OMG does it ever! I am a horribly anxious person as well. When I get stressed it manifests physically. My throat closes like someone is closing a giant fist around it, my left leg twitches, my stoamach burns and I'll even get diarreah (I know - TMI). I also don't do my best work, get insomnia, tend to eat horribly and my muscles are tired and sore, plus it's exhausting. I suspect depression plays a role - it really runs in my mom's side of the family. I tend to be a perfectionist workaholic so that doesn't help. I'll literally make myself sick over deadlines and then work through it - not healthy and really, really not a pleasant way to live. Even when things go well it feels 'hollow'.

I went to a couselor and we discussed. Since I am adverse to medicine, her advice was to work on making some consistent changes on several levels. The changes she suggested were exercise (#1), meditation (#2), social (#3) and diet (#4). With exercise being the most important. She recommended 20-30 minutes a day and 10 minutes of meditation/concious relaxation at night before bed where I just lay there and breathe deeply from the abdomen and really feel my body. She also recommended that I make periodic firm dates to get out and be with my friends and family and reschedule rather than cancel if things got hectic. When things get the worst and you need others around you most - you tend to pull into yourself and that's not what you need. The diet really kinda took care of itself once I got going with #1 and #2.

I haven't felt like that in 2 years. I make a date with exercise and I keep it (cause I can feel it creeping up if I don't - in some ways I feel lucky I have physical symptoms). The work will always be there, but I need to have my head in a good place to really do my best. Exercise is truly the major component, but I need my 'girl time' and my night time decompression too - they all work together to keep me sleeping, relaxed and happy.

Exercise is not just for the body - your mind and spirit need it as much as your body does.

Monday, November 05, 2007, 6:28 PM

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I am in grad school AND going through menopause. Cardio is keeping me sane. I finally bit the bullet and joined a 24/7 gym because I need access to cardio at unusual times, particularly late at night working on my thesis. When I get anxious I go for a run on the treadmill for 30 popping a Valium!!

Monday, November 05, 2007, 7:38 PM

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I am not necessarily depressed but I was going through a really rough time right before I decided to start working out and getting in shape. I was dealing with a lot of anxiety that stemmed from work, being away from my family, and my relationship.

I'd be lying if I said I still don't feel anxious sometimes throughout the day, however I feel like I finally have an outlet for it when I go to the gym. While I'm there I feel calm and in control. Afterward I feel proud and surprisingly energetic.

My mood has changed significantly since I started working out regularly. It's a huge relief.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007, 1:47 PM

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There's a reason they call it "a runner's high" - helloooooo endorphins!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007, 3:55 PM

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