Today I shared on our Facebook page this piece about weight lifting and depression.
The tried and true Harvard study from the 1990s found that the heavier the weight a person used, the more depression improved. A similar study from Duke University found that depressed participants who weight trained for four months, four times per week for 40 minutes overcame their depression without medication. The Duke researchers found that for every 50 minutes of exercise each week, the rate of depression decreased by half.
Great news right?
But I shared it with a “your mileage may vary” proviso. Not everyone who’s depressed is able to get out to lift weights. Sometimes, some days getting out of bed is a challenge. You might know that exercise helps but knowledge alone isn’t enough to motivate. I also worry sometimes that people will think treating depression is easy. Just get some sunshine and get moving! But in real life, it’s often not that simple.
So I also like these:
- One sentence pep talks to give yourself
- Depression busting exercises for people too depressed to exercise
An aside: I’ve got a different, but related, worry about sharing good news stories about cancer and exercise. See Exercise Tied to Lower Risk for 13 Types of Cancer and How Exercise May Lower Cancer Risk. People may start to blame people with cancer for their illness (you could have fought it with exercise!) and over-estimate their own immunity if they’re regular exercisers. Exercise may help but not always.