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Exercise is the Key to Vitality, Overcoming Depression



Even as a youngster, the benefits of exercise, especially the psychological, were unmistakable to me.

Chemicals secreted by the brain contribute to what endurance exercise enthusiasts call "runner's high."  Even though the physical benefits of exercise are enormous, the mental clarity, vitality, and improvement in perceived quality of life is what keeps people motivated to exercise, day after day.

The value of consistent, vigorous exercise for people who suffer from depression is indisputable.  At least 100 clinical studies have examined the value of using regular exercise in the treatment of depression. 

They have concluded that exercise can be a powerful antidepressant, at least as effective as other anti-depressants, including drugs and psychotherapy, without the side-effects and costs.

'It is better to avoid using a drug if possible because it can interfere with brain biochemistry, and our knowledge of how drugs affect the brain is in its infancy,' says Dr Rober Lefever of the Promis Recovery Center in Kent, England. "It's really like prescribing heroin for toothache. It gets rid of the symptom but doesn't address the root of the problem."

I have always maintained that it is not possible for a person to reach their fullest potential without vigorous exercise.  Our bodies have a genetic blueprint that requires large amounts of physical activity to be optimally healthy. 

In contemporary America, though, our genes and our lifestyle are on a collision course.  This sedentary lifestyle is largely responsible for an epidemic of lack of movement-related disease, including depression.

Exercising is not just another anti-depression strategy among many.  Movement is required for optimal human functioning. 

Exercise has numerous psychological and emotional benefits for those with depression:

  • Stress, muscle tension and cortisol (adrenal stress hormone) reduction
  • Body composition improvement, decreasing body fat, increasing muscle mass, and helping clothes fit better which usually leads to feeling better about appearance and
  • Increased confidence, and feeling a sense of accomplishment 
  • Increased energy and vitality 
  • More interactions with others, walking in the neighborhood or attending a class 
  • Natural chemical "feel good" hormones 
  • No drug side effects or financial cost for treatment
  • Symptom reduction of: sadness, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, anger, hopelessness, self-doubt, etc.
  • Sleep improvement

A few tips for starting exercise for those with depression or anxiety:

  • Pick an activity that is practical (walking in neighborhood, rather than attending aerobics class across town)
  • Not too far, not too fast, not too soon.
  • Think of exercise as a stress-reliever, not just one more thing to do.
  • Address your reasons why you don't exercise.
  • Prepare for setbacks and obstacles. 

Dr. Dennis Godby, Doctor of Naturopathy, Sutter Medical Foundation.

He may be reached online or at his Sacramento Office (916) 446-2591.



Placer County News Headlines

Buying a Home is Still Better Than RentingRoseville, CA-- Home prices continue to rise faster than incomes and new employment, but it is still more cost efficient to own a home than to rent.

Parking Fees being levied at Hidden FallsAUBURN, Calif. -- Placer County's Hidden Falls Regional Park in North Auburn is a gem of a park. Unfortunately, parking can be hard to find, especially during weekends

$22.5 Million Approved for Placer County BuildingsAUBURN, Calif. -- Placer County Board of Supervisors approve an investment plan that will allocate a minimum of $4.5 million annually over the next five years

Placer SPCA Sees Success in Waiving Adoption FeesRoseville, Calif. - Adoption fees are waived for all animals, without exception, at the Placer SPCA during the month of August for its "full hearts, empty kennels" campaign

Classic Car Show in Grass Valley August 25(Grass Valley, CA) Cascades of Grass Valley, a senior living community located at 415 Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley, will be hosting a classic car show on Friday, August 25

Warriors Set to Start 2017 Volleyball CampaignROCKLIN, Calif. - The William Jessup women's volleyball team will start the season this week hosting the Warrior Invitational

Podcasts for Fundraising Professionals and DonorsWith that goal in mind, Eric Hogue and David Pineschi of William Jessup University are regularly producing light-hearted podcasts each month

Mono County Events for Scenic Adventure SeekersMONO COUNTY, Calif. - After record-setting snowfall that refilled lakes and rivers, leaving glistening snow on high peaks and meadows below

Lowest Reported Gas Prices in RosevilleRoseville, CA- Gas prices in Roseville and Rocklin are holding relatively steady as residents shift from summer vacations back to school and work

WJU Volleyball signs Isabella MauricioROCKLIN, Calif. - The women's volleyball head coach, Shasta Millhollin announced the signing of Isabella Mauricio from Foster City, Calif. to the 2017-18 roster.

Foam Fest Craft Beer and Live Music Festival[Olympic Valley, Calif.] - Achieve Tahoe (formerly Disabled Sports USA Far West) will host its 28th annual "Foam Fest" fundraising event

The Great Banquet in Roseville October 7thROSEVILLE, Calif., - Joni and Friends Sacramento will hold its fourth bi-annual event titled "The Great Banquet" at Bayside Church in Roseville on October 7, 2017


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