(A)Depression According to the World Health Organization

  • Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, more than 320 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
  • More women are affected by depression than men.
  • At its worst, depression can lead to suicide.
  • There are effective psychological and pharmacological treatments for depression.

Like most of our problems or difficult situations, the first best thing to do is to recognize the source the misery –  unhappiness and start thinking of ways to overcome it. Luckily, there are many magazines and scientific articles in newspapers, or on internet , that specialize on mental and corporal health, that is almost  impossible not to find some information regarding depression and the side effects caused by depression and loss of any interest in life.

So, let us think why people suffer from depression, and later, we shall try to connect sports and exercise and their influence on those who feel depressed. I need to admit that every time I hear about depression, anxiety and feelings of pessimism, a series of reasons appear to my mind:

1.Separation leading to Depression

When a couple is breaking up, one of the two stays back thinking of what went wrong, what they could have done and why they have come to that point. Over thinking and analyzing may be disastrous when somebody is in pain, and of course, at the beginning, he/she cannot recognize the symptoms of depression that is knocking on his/her door. There are several types of separation but I have focused on two: couple/marriage and the separation that happens between children and parents who are getting a divorce. In both cases, the feeling of absence is obvious, because in both cases the persons implicated feel empty, and if no action to overcome this sense is done, all this may lead to depression.

2.Change of place due to moving to another city and Depression

People often are obliged to move to another city or country for various reasons, mostly for studies. The first months are difficult to get accustomed to a new place, as the new student is away from his/her family and friends, obliged to live in a house that usually is a lot smaller than his/her home and less comfortable, and he/she has to do all the housework (supermarket, cooking, etc.). This sudden change of situation and the loneliness people experience, is possible to cause a kind of depression, for a period of time, in case the student does not socialize, at some point, with other classmates.

3.Unemployment and Depression

I suppose that many of you agree with me that lack of employment may lead to depression, especially when somebody faces long term unemployment. Searching for a job is exhausting, and sometimes, people feel that even if they are qualified for the job they apply for, the do not manage to get it. Consequently, job seekers start to wonder why they are not successful in their job search, when are they going to find a job, and finally, feelings of frustration and depression are approaching them.

4.Change of physical appearance and Depression

Any change on physical appearance that may affect a person’s self – esteem may have consequences on somebody’s psychological state, as well as, a long term disapproval of a person’s image, that may lead to depression. The most common changes are hair loss, gaining or losing weight and wrinkles. Usually, women care about their weight more than men, and men get really anxious seeing that hair loss makes them look less attractive every time they look at themselves in the mirror. As far as women are concerned, the fight with their weight and wrinkles is exhausting. When appearance changes, persons tend to isolate themselves in order to avoid any possible hard remarks about their looks or just a glance that hides criticism. Sometimes, only the fear of being criticized is sufficient to cause isolation and severe self – criticism.

5.Pregnancy, Birth and Depression

During pregnancy body experiences many changes: hormonal and aesthetical. Women find it difficult to move and continue with their activities like they used to. Their life seems different, as they notice their body changing and gaining weight. After they give birth, sometimes, they suffer from postpartum depression.

exercise and depression

(B)Exercise versus Depression

There are many articles regarding depression. Many among them mention data collection and analysis of the findings. We will mention only the results or conclusions of the research conducted in some cases, with a view to give some examples and present up to what extent is exercise a factor that fights depression. In every case, it depends on the number of persons who take part in testing and research. We will just cite a few opinions of experts who are interested in this topic.

 Cochrane Library mentions that:

  • Exercise is moderately more effective than no therapy for reducing symptoms of depression.
  • Attendance rates for exercise treatments ranged from 50% to 100%.

According to Disability and Rehabilitation, an International Multidisciplinary Journal, The Implications for Rehabilitation may be resumed in:

  • For mild to moderate depression, the effect of exercise may be compare with antidepressant medication and psychotherapy.
  • for severe depression, exercise seems to be a valuable complementary therapy to the traditional treatments.
  • Exercise therapy also improves physical health, body image, patient’s coping strategies with stress, quality of life, and independence in activities of daily living in older adults.
  • Motivational strategies should be incorporated in exercise interventions to enhance the patients’ motivation.

Exercise therapy improves both mental and physical health in patients with major depression.

Our conclusions:

Whatever the cause of depression is, there are ways so as to try to overcome it. Exercise is a natural means of feeling active again. During exercise, every person can spend some stress -free moments, relaxing and socializing with other people.

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Alexandra Asvesta

Alexandra Asvesta is a Linguist, Teacher of Modern Foreign Languages and an author interested in various subjects. Lately, she has focused on topics regarding health and quality of life, such as sports, yoga, Pilates, swimming, sailing, etc. and their contribution to mind and body. She believes in the beneficial properties of the Mediterranean diet and the ingredients used to prepare a nice, tasty and healthy food.

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