November 7, 2010
should I not lace up tomorrow?
I mentioned an BBC news article last week that reported on a study that showed that exercise reduces depression risk. Not that this article, among many others, is the only reason why I re-committed to working out, but those studies certainly motivated me to get moving more. Well, apparently, how much I move doesn’t really matter in terms of depression. As reported on Reuters, a new study in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry showed that exercise “appears to have little long-term impact on depression.” The analysis looked at 13 studies, including a study of 700 patients, some of whom were randomly assigned to an exercise regimen in order to relieve their depression. Overall, “the effect on depression is at best small, if any,” noted the study author.
I’m not necessarily arguing with the study (because they probably ran a meta-analysis of past studies), but if other studies show that physical health affects one’s mental health, where does exercise fit in? The results almost does a disservice to the depression community. It needs as many motivating factors as possible in order to fight this illness, and the study does nothing to help that. And while it’s not the study’s responsibility to suggest other ideas that can relieve one from depression, it offers no possible solutions.
I guess it’s partly our own responsibility to find the solution for ourselves, and not just leave it up to the pharmaceutical companies or researchers. Sure, this study tempts me to not get down to that treadmill tomorrow, but at the same time I know this is just a single study. And it doesn’t change the fact that exercise is good for our whole being.
So, exercise may not keep me from being depressed, but it would feel good if I could get back to fitting into my cute pair of jeans.
November 13, 2009
US News and World Report has an article, What Science is Discovering about Exercise and Depression.
Here’s an excerpt:
The benefit is both psychological and physiological. The impact of exercise on the depressed brain appears to take several forms, but the long-touted “feel good” endorphins aren’t necessarily the answer, says Dunn. “Exercise induces all these neural growth factors,” she says, and “creates new neurons in your brain.” The result: bolstered connectivity that could play a critical role in the depressed brain, which is often operating with a deficit of these connections. Also very important, explains Blumenthal, is the fact that keeping up a regular workout regimen seems to reinforce self-confidence and a sense of being in control of one’s health.
It’s not that I didn’t know that regular exercise is good for me. Anyone who’s been depressed has probably been told to ‘go for a walk’ at some point in their treatment process. But I’ve been really lazy about keeping up with a semi-work out schedule that I had a few months ago. That lapse has not been good for me mentally and have noticed a physical change, too.
Reading this article made me tell myself that I need to get back on that treadmill again, but I really need a way to be more consistent about exercise. Perhaps I need to view exercising, well, like a prescribed pill. If I can pop a few pills without too much thought, I guess I can hop on an elliptical without thinking much about it, too. Any suggestions to help me stay on track?
March 28, 2009
On the way to my weekend job, I loaded up some music I haven’t listened to in many moons, the Indigo Girls. It’s the one group I can actually understand what they’re saying. If anyone gets to go to an Indigo Girls concert, it’s like a giant sing-along.
here is this lyric in the song “Watershed” that kind of reflects what I need to be telling myself:
Up on the watershed, standing at the fork in the road
You can stand there and agonize
Till your agony’s your heaviest load.
You’ll never fly as the crow flies, get used to a country mile.
When you’re learning to face the path at your pace
Every choice is worth your while.
I’d like to write something about my thoughts on some of the Girls’ lyrics, but my head just feels stuck. I think I’ll just leave them be. The rest of the lyrics (and song clips) can be found here.
This entry shouldn’t be a wasted set of words, so here’s some pretty good news. I made it to that elliptical machine everyday this week. It’s just for 30 minutes and the ‘carrot’ for me to get there is so that I can read a book, but at least I made it there. I’ve gone to that place more in the last week or so than I have the whole time I’ve lived in this complex. The news articles and the Mayo Clinic site do point out how exercise eases depression symptoms, so this hope-to-be-a-habit couldn’t be a bad thing.
I also didn’t flake out on going to a little birthday dinner at a restaurant. That’s actually a huge thing on a personal level.
I did do some standing and agonizing this week, but that doesn’t change the fact that I did the other tasks in spite of the tough times.