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Summer Is Here: Get Moving To Beat Depression!

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Walking to beat depressionDepression is a common symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). It is also commonly a symptom of many other mood and personality disorders, as well as something that happens to all of us from time to time, regardless of our psychological make-up.

Summer is a time of year when we take vacations, attend BBQs, and hit the beach – which can all feel isolating when you’re feeling depressed and others appear carefree. Exercise in the fresh air and summer sun can be just the prescription for lifting your spirits and making you feel like yourself again.

Symptoms of Depression

Here are some signs that you or a loved one may be suffering with depression:

  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering details
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — overeating or loss of appetite
  • Persistent aches or pains, cramps, headaches, or digestive problems that persist, even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or empty feelings
  • Suicidal thoughts or gestures

Why Exercise?

It is now believed that exercise can help alleviate symptoms of depression and contribute to more positive moods. Researchers have a few ideas about why exercise has been effective in alleviating some of the symptoms of depression, but not all of the answers are clear yet.

What is clear is that the majority of those who suffer with anxiety and depression who also exercise regularly have reported a significant reduction in their depressive symptoms. When we exercise, our bodies produce chemicals called endorphins that have been linked to positive moods. Exercise is also a distraction from problems and can bolster self-esteem.

Committing to a healthy habit like exercise is also a great excuse to give ourselves a pat on the back for being proactive and doing something good for our minds and our bodies.

Ways to Get Moving to Beat Depression

Summer is upon us, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to get outside and enjoy some fresh air, warm weather, and get some movement. The days are longer, so even with a busy schedule it’s not as difficult to squeeze in some outdoor activities at the end of a busy day.

Here are some great ways to get moving:

  • Walking: All you need are some sneakers and off you go — no fancy equipment or expensive gyms required. Grab some water and go walk somewhere pretty — a nearby neighborhood or park is all you need. Pedometers can be a great way to track your distance and time so you can record your progress and set new goals. Even if you are out of shape, walking longer distances each day can really help you increase your stamina.
  • Yoga: In most areas, it is not difficult to find yoga classes outdoors during the warmer months. Often local parks or beaches become gathering places for yoga enthusiasts. Yoga is a proven technique for achieving greater physical stamina and flexibility, as well as peace of mind. The focus required to achieve the proper poses in yoga can help free the mind from negative thinking and bring a greater sense of centeredness.
  • Bicycling: Dust off that old 10-speed and get out there! Biking has enjoyed a new surge in popularity, and many cities and towns have incorporated bicycle lanes into the roads. Most parks and beaches have bike paths. There is nothing like the wind in your hair and the feeling of freedom you get from a bike ride to boost your mood.

There are endless ways to get outdoors and get moving. With proven physical and mental health benefits, you can’t go wrong. Find something you really enjoy and stick with it to help alleviate your depression symptoms.

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