If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you know that blogger Kiki Mairi and I have been teaming up to help those with depression overcome their reluctancy to get up and exercise. When being depressed, it’s not as easy as someone telling you to work out and then you’re able to get up and go. Heck, it’s hard enough to exercise when you’re not depressed. But with depression, some find it a challenge to even get out of bed in the morning. So how are you supposed to get to the gym in tight gym clothes, and look like a wet dog in a pile of sweat in front of a bunch of people you don’t know?
If you haven’t been keeping up, here are the links to the posts:
I want to help get everyone active, so I will give you two ideas per week on how to overcome this. In return, Kiki will test them out and report back to how they worked for her! I will be sure to repost her posts onto my pages so you can check both out easily. I also would love to hear your feedback on if you’ve tried it, how it worked for you, or even what works for you!
So here are my week 2 suggestions:
- Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get in your workout, or if you end up not going to the gym. There’s a huge stigma behind thinking going to the gym is the only appropriate form of exercise. It isn’t! Walk down the street if you need! Just something to get your legs stretched out is good enough on a low day!
- Start simple. If you struggle getting out of bed in the morning, set up a yoga mat next to your bed and meditate for the first week. The next week, try to follow a yoga video on Youtube. The weeks after, attend a yoga class, and build on it from there. A systematic review of 12 randomoized control trials by Tsang, Chan and Cheung (2009) found that mindfulness exercise such as tai chi and yoga has shown to help reduce both short-term and long-term depression. Additionally, non-mindfulness exercise such as running or lifting presented similar results, so don’t rule out any type of exercise, but do rule in what you enjoy
- Find a type of exercise that you like. It could be as conventional as lifting or running, it could be playing a sport, or it could be casually dancing in your kitchen to your favourite tunes. There’s no point in forcing yourself to go to the gym and “pick things up and put them down” if you find the idea of lifting absolutely nauseating. If you enjoy it, you’ll get better results, be more likely to continue and be more likely to find motivation. A Cochrane review by Mead et al. (2010) recommends that there is less drop-out rates of individuals who partake in an activity that they genuinely enjoy. This same review also found that there are no specific types of exercise (ex. Weightlifting, aerobic, or mixed) that alleviated depression better than the other, thus showing that the type of exercise does not matter, it’s solely the act of doing some form of it.