You may have heard that exercising can help fight depression. But how long do you have to exercise before you start feeling better? And can you exercise once a month, do you have to exercise once a week, or should you be working out every day? What type of the schedule do you need to develop for exercise to help boost your mood and fight depression? The answer is, not as long or as frequently as you may think.
Whenever your body experiences physical stress or you intensely exert yourself, endorphins are released. These endorphins impair your pain receptors and boost your feelings of strength, happiness, and well-being. This is how exercise can help you battle depression. But how long before endorphins are released when you exercise?
Incredibly, men and women can “de-stress” their minds by stressing their bodies in just 20 minutes through exercise or physical exertion. Your ability to focus is boosted, depression is kicked to the curb, and these positive mood-enhancing effects can last for up to 12 hours.
That is the belief of John Ratey, M.D., and other important physical fitness experts and researchers. The “happiness effect” that physical exertion has on your brain has been proven by research which links higher than average levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and endorphins with exercise. Doctor Ratey says that BDNF helps promote neural growth and actually repairs damage caused by stress and depression.
And these incredible natural mood boosters join endorphins to deliver a positive attitude and good mood almost immediately. Just 20 minutes of exercise on average has been shown to deliver as many as 12 hours of depression-destroying positivity.
Exercise in this case does not necessarily mean lifting a ton of weights or running as fast as you can. Simply jogging, enjoying a session of Pilates or yoga, climbing stairs, or going for a brisk walk can trigger a positive mood that can last for hours.
So, how often should you exercise? Since 20 minutes of physically stressing and pushing your body can deliver up to 12 hours of a positive mood boost, why not practice this simple health and mind enhancer twice a day?
Exercising for 20 or 30 minutes to start your day will have you tackling the world with a positive “I can do anything” mindset. And at the end of a long work day, another exercise session will keep depression at bay until you rise the next morning and cheat depression once again.