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It's been long proven that regular fitness activity benefits your body in a number of ways, but did you know that it benefits your mental health, too? Maybe it's time to dust off the treadmill or break out that gym membership again. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 20 Americans aged 12 or older currently suffer from depression. Women are close to twice as likely to suffer from some sort of depression during their lives than men. Out of this group, 80% have reported a type of functional impairment as a result of the disorder. 27% of the group have reported that depression has affected their work, relationships, and household in a negative way.
There are many causes of depression, and they vary from individual to individual. It can be anything from medications, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, loss of a loved one, and genetics, among others. These major events don't always cause depression, however. Researchers are regularly studying how certain people may be more prone to the black cloud than others. Treating depression usually differs from case to case. The most common treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy combined with an antidepressant medication. However, more and more physicians are beginning to encourage their patients to take part in physical activity in their daily routine to boost the treatment plan. For many people suffering from depression, getting up and working out can be incredibly difficult. They may have trouble just getting out of bed in the morning, let alone getting fired up to go exercise.
It's important to remember that the first step is the hardest. Once you overcome the general inactivity accompanied by the disorder, your activity levels will gradually increase and you'll feel better. Make sure to set small goals in order to keep it simple. Start with an easy, short walk outside and build up the activity level each day. Keep it slow in order to achieve your daily goals. In addition to releasing mood-enhancing neurotransmitters and feel-good endorphins in your brain, an active lifestyle and exercise regimen will give you pride and confidence in your accomplishment. Try to do some of your physical exercise outdoors if possible, as sunshine and fresh air can greatly improve your mood and offer a boost of energy.