Maybe your doctor told you or you read it on the internet but somehow you’ve come to know that exercise helps manage and cure depression. But then what? All the articles I’ve found stop there. They dig into the science or give vague and general advice. What about the details?
How much exercise?
How long until it helps?
It’s mind boggling to me that there’s about a million exercise plans for a bikini body, but NOT ONE pops up for depression. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself. Go google, “Exercise Plan for Depression.” You’ll get a bunch of articles telling you it’s helpful but none of them contain a tangible plan to get you started.
WHYYYY do we have a million plans for your bikini body but NOT A SINGLE plan to help you use exercise for your depression or anxiety? Exercise as a treatment is a BIG DEAL and in a lot of studies it proved to be even more effective than medication. SO WHY ON EARTH do we have over 40 million Americans on some form of antidepressant and not a single fitness plan on the internet to walk you through getting started?!
Ok, rant over.
If you’ve been proactive enough to get here, I applaud you. Keep fighting, keep showing up and I promise I won’t leave you empty handed.
I’ve condensed hundreds of hours of research into the basics for you.
Can exercise cure depression?
Yes it can! Exercise works as well as medication to reduce symptoms for some people. For others it’s an additive treatment that still plays a huge role in recovery. Either way, research says exercise is a key component to battling your depression or anxiety.
How much exercise do I need?
Effects are seen with an average of 20-30 minutes, 3-4 days/week, at a moderate to high intensity (hard enough to be out of breath and sweat at least a little). Walking has shown some beneficial effects, but the best effects are seen at a higher intensity.
What kind of exercise is best?
Cardio and strength training are very comparable. This means that the best exercise for you is the one you can most easily commit to. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) can be done with cardio or strength movements and has been really successful in decreasing symptoms.
How long until I feel the effects?
Some smaller effects can be seen after your first workout or two but significant and lasting changes to the brain are seen around week 4.
How do I find the motivation to start?
This is the answer people don’t typically like. Truth is, it’s not about motivation, it’s about commitment. It really doesn’t matter if you, “feel like it” — in fact that’s why you’re here! You’re struggling with depression. There’s a whole lot you don’t feel like doing. Start small, start with the thing you think you’ll hate the least, schedule it, make it a non-negotiable and just keep going. It’ll be worth it, I promise.
DOSE: 20+ minutes, 3 or 4 days a week, moderate to high intensity (HIIT)
I promised I wouldn’t let you leave empty handed so here’s a simple 4 Week Workout Guide to get you started and working towards the research recommended dose of exercise. It’s simple, but don’t underestimate it! We’ve been brainwashed to think that fitness is a competition, right now, you just need to show up and do it. This could be the first step in reclaiming your life!
Here’s 4 HIIT Workouts: 2 strength & 2 cardio. You’ll start with just 5 minutes per workout for the first week and then increase by 5 minutes each week after that.
Week 1 = 1 rounds (5 minutes)
Week 2 = 2 rounds (10 minutes)
Week 3 = 3 rounds (15 minutes)
Week 4 = 4 rounds (20 minutes)
1 round = 30 seconds of each exercise at a high intensity followed by a 30-second rest.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
- Commit to and plan your workout. Be specific and put it on your calendar. What day? What time? And what workout are you going to do?
- Tell a friend for accountability or message me on instagram (@amandaontherise)
- Decide now that regardless of how you “feel” when the workout time comes, you’ll choose to show up & get it done. You’ll be glad you did!
It’s SO IMPORTANT to me to that you have the resources you need to empower you to take control of your life back. If I’ve missed something or if there’s something you still need, shoot me a message!