Depression and Exercise

Exercise can be amazingly beneficial.

  • It is a natural antidepressant
  • And it improves your willpower, giving you more motivation and more “get up and go”.
  • It is referred to as a “keystone” habit in The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg, because people that exercise start engaging in other good habits like eating healthier even if that was never their goal. These good habits like eating healthy also help relieve depression.

A recent study showed that exercise reduced depression symptoms by 55%[1] in people with major depression. 

However! The exercise didn’t work for everyone, there was a very clear divide. First the researchers tested how the participants responded to rewards. Participants with low levels of reward processing didn’t gain any benefit at all from exercise. Participants with healthy positive reward processing, even if their depression symptoms were worse, benefited a lot from the exercise. 
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