Walking and jogging bring countless benefits to mental health, especially helping a lot in improving symptoms and preventing depression from recurring.
Is walking or jogging good for depression?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially ranked depression in second place, just behind cardiovascular diseases in terms of the burden on people’s health and life. If in the past, depression was a rather unfamiliar term, now most people have a certain understanding of this pathology. This is due to the high incidence of the disease and the increasing number of suicides and self-harm due to unstable mental health.
Depression is an emotional disorder with a complex pathogenesis and unclear etiology. Therefore, treatment of the disease still has many limitations and challenges. However, you can control the condition by combining medical treatment with supportive therapies. Exercise or more specifically walking, jogging has been shown to effectively reduce symptoms of depression and have a positive impact on disease progression.
Scientists from the University of Stirling in Scotland combined the results of eight previous studies on 341 patients. 8 This study shows that exercise, including walking and jogging, helps reduce anxiety and bring about a positive, uplifting mood. This helps a lot in improving emotional and thinking symptoms for patients with depression.
The results of this study are further confirmed by studies in the Archives of Internal Medicine. These studies show that walking, jogging stimulates the brain to produce endorphins, which create feelings of comfort, relaxation, increased excitement, optimism and joy. These positive emotions will help ease the boredom and loss of interest caused by depression.
Walking, jogging, and other types of exercise have all been shown to help with depression. In addition, a daily exercise routine also helps you take care of your mental health and prevent mental and neurological diseases effectively.
Specific benefits of walking, jogging for depression
Walking and jogging are good sports for both physical and mental health. For people with depression, these exercises bring specific benefits as follows:
1. Reduce Negative Emotions
When exercising in general and walking and jogging in particular, the brain will increase the secretion of dopamine, endorphin and serotonin hormones. These hormones have the effect of reducing stress, anxiety, sadness, depression and pessimism. Depression lowers emotions, so patients always have to deal with negative emotions.
Negative emotions govern thoughts (thoughts) and behavior. Therefore, most people with depression often have pessimistic thoughts, reduce physical activities, lack interest and lose interest in everything around. If you combine walking and jogging with a reasonable diet, the negative emotions caused by depression will be significantly reduced.
2. Increase positive emotions
Besides reducing negative emotions, the hormones released by the brain when walking, jogging also have the effect of creating feelings of joy, excitement, optimism, etc. In addition, hormones endorphins, dopamine and serotonin It also increases motivation and concentration.
People with depression are often unmotivated at work, study, and find it difficult to perform daily activities. Therefore, exercising in general and walking and jogging regularly can increase positive emotions and create an abundant source of motivation.
3. Relieves Sleep Problems
In addition to the mental manifestations, depression also causes many sleep problems such as lack of sleep, insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, poor sleep, restlessness and easy awakening. Depression and insomnia are two health problems that are closely related and interact. Depression causes sleep problems, and poor sleep quality worsens symptoms of depression.
The cause of insomnia in patients with depression is a decrease in serotonin. When walking, jogging, the brain will increase the production of the hormone serotonin. This hormone is the precursor for the brain to produce melatonin, which has a relaxing effect and creates a good night’s sleep. By stimulating the brain to produce serotonin, walking and jogging can improve sleep quality for patients with depression.
4. Improve the physical symptoms of the disease
Depression usually has a gradual onset and symptoms tend to get worse over time. Besides emotional manifestations, patients also face many physical problems such as loss of appetite, loss of appetite, headaches, digestive disorders, menstrual disorders, etc.
By increasing mood hormones, walking and jogging help improve physical symptoms caused by depression. Besides, exercise also helps improve physical health, strengthens the immune system and regulates the functioning of all organs in the body.
Many studies have shown that physical activity helps relieve digestive problems, create appetite, improve headaches, shoulder and neck pain, regulate menstruation and overcome decreased sex drive. . This is also the reason each person needs to spend about 30 minutes a day to exercise.
5. Prevention of disease recurrence
Depression is one of the most common emotional disorders in the world. Factors that trigger the disease to flare up are often psychological trauma and accumulated stress. Exercise in general and walking and jogging in particular have the effect of relieving stress, balancing and stabilizing emotions. If you maintain the habit of exercising for a long time, the risk of recurrence will be significantly reduced.
In addition, walking and jogging increase neurotransmitters in the brain including serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. These hormones play an important role in keeping emotions in balance, maintaining optimism, excitement, joy, etc. Thereby helping to reduce nervous tension and limit the risk of depression and confusion. anxiety disorder.
Instructions on how to walk and jog to improve depression
Walking or jogging can ease symptoms of depression. However, to achieve good results, you need to keep a few things in mind:
1. Pay attention to exercise intensity
The first thing to keep in mind is the intensity of the exercise. Walking is a low-intensity exercise and you can increase the intensity by walking briskly. This subject is recommended for patients with depression and people with psychological and mental problems. The gentle intensity of exercise helps limit pain and fatigue. After getting used to it, you can increase the intensity to improve overall health.
For jogging, the intensity will be higher than walking. However, you can still adjust the intensity to suit your condition. Should start with light jogging with short distances. After that, the intensity can be increased if the condition allows.
The reason walking and jogging is recommended for patients with depression is because these subjects are moderate in intensity and can be easily adjusted. Patients with depression are often in poor physical condition, easily fatigued and lethargic. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to the intensity of exercise to avoid adverse effects on health.
2. Exercise with reasonable frequency
In addition to intensity, you also need to pay attention to the frequency of exercise. For walking and jogging, you can do it every day. It is recommended to start out for a short time (10-15 minutes), then gradually increase to 30 minutes/day. If you do not have much time, you need to maintain this habit at least 3 times / week and each session lasts about 30 minutes.
3. Maintain walking, jogging for a long time
The effects of walking and jogging are not noticeable in the short term. So you need to maintain this habit for a long time. After about 1-2 months of implementation, the physical and mental symptoms of depression will be significantly reduced. In addition to maintaining health, it is advisable to keep a regular exercise routine throughout life.
Walking and jogging are good exercises for mental health and help reduce depression. Besides medication, you should combine it with a healthy diet and exercise regimen to effectively manage the disease.