Depression is a common condition among older adults. While getting older comes with a lot of positives, like the more relaxed lifestyle of retirement and grandchildren, it also has its negatives. The negatives of declining health, a feeling of a lack of purpose, and the loneliness of not being able to get out as much can lead to depression.
While depression can be treated with medications and counseling, these methods alone aren’t always as effective as we’d like. However, a growing body of research suggests that adding regular exercise to the treatment plan can make a difference in relieving depression symptoms.
Exercise and Depression Research
Two researchers, Felipe Barretto Schuh and Brendon Stubbs (from Brazil and the UK respectively), recently conducted a review of available information concerning depression and how it is affected by exercise.
The review involved data from 49 different studies with a total of 266,939 participants. The results of the study showed that exercise had a significant antidepressant effect. Unfortunately, they also found that most treatment plans for depression don’t include exercise. Instead, they typically rely on antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy.
How Exercise Fights Depression
Experts at the Mayo Clinic say that exercise is effective in reducing symptoms of depression in several ways, such as:
Endorphins: Exercise causes the body to release endorphins, which are sometimes referred to as “feel good” chemicals.
Distraction: When people exercise, it takes their minds off their worries, which can break the cycle of negative thoughts.
Confidence: The more a person exercises, the more they will be capable of doing. Meeting exercise goals and being more fit can increase confidence.
Socialization: Getting out to exercise gives people a chance to see others. They may spark conversations and make new friends. Even just greeting people with a smile as they take a walk can make them feel better.
Coping Strategy: Exercising to reduce depression symptoms is an excellent coping strategy because it gives the person some control over their condition and allows them to play an active role in their treatment plan.
If your aging relative suffers from depression and wants to be more physically active to fight the symptoms, home health care can help. A home health care provider can offer transportation to the gym, a yoga studio, or an exercise class at the local senior center. Home health care providers can also go for walks with them, ensuring the older adult does not fall and giving them someone to chat with while they walk.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Home Health Care Services in Santa Rosa CA, call At Your Service Home Care. Call today! (707) 573-1003
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