When depression lurks in the background.

(I try to post about the link between managing depression through exercise a couple of times a year. I’m a big believer that most people can learn to manage depression without medication. Exercise is one of those ways. If nothing else it eases the discomfort of depression.)

Sometimes depression reminds me of a cardinal in summer. Who notices a cardinal in summer anyway? They don’t stand out. Red against green is only a subtle contrast.

But a red cardinal on a white-blanketed limb? Now, that’s contrast. We really take notice even though the cardinal has been around all year.

Depression is like that, hiding for a season, two, three, four. In my case about fifteen. I can ignore it but I can’t pretend it isn’t hanging around. I catch a glimpse now and then when my mood suddenly drops or I suddenly feel anxious. That’s when I immediately turn to my management tools. I’ve had some bad days this summer. My doctor keeps reducing my dose of thyroid and that scares me which is probably why two weeks ago I had some bad days.

But I make sure that I exercise at least six out of seven days. No matter what. The only thing that stops me is if my feet are especially sore, if it’s too hot, or if I’m physically ill. If it rains I work out on my elliptical machine. I’ve literally walked myself right out of an anxiety attack on more than one occasion. Exercise really, really works.

Some of you are saying, “Oh, no.” Not another exercise advocate. But the research is clear now.

Excercise works as well and sometimes better than antidepressants.


I think the reason might be more than just the act of exercising itself. I think it might also be because we feel we have some control over our depression. We feel we’re doing something constructive. (Of course, it’s a heck of a lot harder than just swallowing a pill.) I have to make myself exercise as much as anyone else. But if I can avoid taking antidepressants and all the side effects that go along with them, I will.

How about you?

Are you willing to give exercise a try? Just a thirty minute walk five out of seven days is all you to do.

And the great thing about exercise is that:

  • It’s free
  • There are no side-effects.
  • It’s a natural approach to letting your body heal itself.

When you compare it to taking a pill, well, there just isn’t one.

I want to add that while exercise is absolutely the first line of defense against depression, there are some people for whom exercise alone won’t work all by itself, especially if there isn’t any accompanying professional therapy. But even if it doesn’t work all by itself, it will certainly help.

So get those shoes on and get outside and enjoy breathing in some fresh air.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.


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