Sports against depression

Depression, causes

The question of the influence of sports on human mental health has been raised several times. A whole series of studies have been carried out that have proven the close relationship between depressive conditions and lack of physical activity. The first study, conducted in 1970, included 2 groups of depressed men. One group of volunteers was running, swimming and bicycling every day; in the second group, men were sedentary. Experience has shown that people who played sports overcame the disease much faster.

According to the official position of the WHO, sport for depression is an important factor in reducing or completely eliminating depression in the shortest possible time. The recommended amount of exercise for depression is at least 150 minutes per week (less than half an hour per day). At the same time, the loads should be intense.

Depression and its causes

Depression is a complex disorder of the human psyche, which is characterized by a triad of conditions, including: motor retardation, impaired thinking and decreased mood. The disease refers to mental disorders, can be accompanied by anxiety, insomnia, and panic attacks (in severe cases).

It is important to bear in mind that depression is a complex psychosomatic illness, which is very difficult to cope with on your own, and sometimes even impossible. Therefore, it is important to contact a psychiatric clinic in a timely manner, where a psychotherapist will diagnose and prescribe an adequate treatment regimen.

The main causes of depression include:

  • Psychological trauma – caused by external influences on the human psyche: dismissal from work, scandals, loss of beloved ones, etc.;
  • Chronic – a state of constant severe stress;
  • Endocrine – dysfunction of the endocrine system;
  • Somatic – provoked by various diseases, for example, oncology;
  • Genetic predisposition – transmitted with genes from mother / father to their child;
  • Addictions – alcoholism, gambling addiction, drug addiction, etc.

Only the attending physician can determine the exact cause of depression in a particular person, based on the data of the anamnesis, initial examination and consultation with a psychotherapist.

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    How does sport help cope with depression?

    Regular sports and physical activity not only help to improve physical fitness and reward a person with a beautiful body, but also help to overcome various mental problems, including depression.

    Psychotherapists point out that there is a number of reasons explaining the positive effect of sports on a person’s mental condition. In the process of physical activity, blood circulation is accelerated, metabolism improves, perception of the surrounding world is normalized, and more oxygen enters the cells, which in its turn accelerates carbohydrate metabolism.

    Thus, physical activity has a positive effect not only on muscles, but is also a useful factor in enhancing brain activity. People involved in sports are more resistant to stress, their self-esteem increases, and there is also a distraction from unpleasant obsessive thoughts.

    Fitness from depression

    Fitness is one of the most widespread types of sports, which provides the necessary physical activity for the body in the treatment of depressive conditions. According to a study that took more than 7 years with the participation of more than 153 thousand people, it turned out that aerobic exercise performed during fitness can significantly improve the psychological state.

    In 7 years, people who continued doing fitness, as well as people who stopped playing sports, completed the questionnaires. According to the answers, sports active people had a significantly better psychological state. The regularity of the depression manifestation of people who stopped doing sports returned to the average. This experience proves the effectiveness of fitness to relief depression, especially with regular exercises.

    Meditation, yoga for depression

    Meditation and yoga are not an official area of ​​sports – this is due to the fact that it does not provide sufficient physical activity to speed up metabolic processes and improve brain activity. Classes are aimed at activating the parts of the brain that are responsible for self-control and self-organization of a person.

    There are several methods officially applied in the treatment of depression by Western psychotherapists: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, as well as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. These yoga and meditation methods for depression have been repeatedly tested and recognized as those, which show excellent results in restoring and normalizing a person’s psychological health, even in difficult cases.


    Change the environment – go on vacation and relax your soul! People often hear this recommendation from their relatives and friends. Very often, such a rest is recommended by practicing psychotherapists. Indeed, a sharp change in the environment and rhythm of life allows you to ‘switch’ internal psychological attitudes, as well as improve the general condition of the organism.
    In case of depression, a simple change of environment must be combined with additional physical activity – active rest is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce and eliminate person’s depression. Active recreation includes: cycling, hiking, kayaking, skiing, as well as non-professional team sports: football, basketball, etc.

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    How sports affect human mood

    During active physical exercises, a large amount of hormones are released into the body: serotonin and dopamine – they belong to the hormones of happiness that help improve mood and stabilize the psychological state. Any physical activity, from light fitness, to light and weightlifting, stimulates their production. The amount of hormone produced is directly related to the intensity of the exercise.

    Thus, it can be noted that sports activities definitely have a positive effect on a person’s mood. The best performance can be achieved when exercising in the open air, with a lot of oxygen.

    Exercise for severe depression

    Severe depression is accompanied by a number of symptomatic manifestations, including suicidal desires, which significantly complicate the process of treatment and rehabilitation. In this case, it is quite difficult to evoke a desire in a person, to start engaging in active sports training, therefore, in most cases, additional sessions, consultations with a psychotherapist and a special approach are required.

    Only after the general normalization of the patient’s psychological state, a doctor can prescribe physiotherapy exercises and other physical activities. Before that, treatment is performed in a day hospital with the gradual integration of exercises for severe depression (physiotherapy exercises) or hospitalization is carried out – it is necessary in cases where careful monitoring of the patient’s behavior is necessary.

    Should a person suppress emotions with sports?

    Suppressing emotions by exercising for depression is one of the most popular tools. However, feelings, experiences, anger and rage cannot be ignored, they need to be noticed, learned to understand, and also be distinguished from other feelings.

    The constant suppression of these emotions through sports can lead to emotional exhaustion of a person, which threatens with very serious consequences for one’s psyche. Also, sports should not be exhausting – sports activities should be in moderation, in order to lead a usual lifestyle with a switch of attention to certain events.

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