Can Exercise Help With Depression | Take Back Control

By | October 22, 2015

Can exercise help with depression


I was debating in two minds about writing this article, do I want to tell the world about my “illness” I thought why not…….why does it have to be a secret?  this article can exercise help with depression is not only a personal one but an important one 

My depression started around 2013 and this is kinda how it went….. I didn’t know what was wrong with me but I knew deep down something was, I was getting about 3-4 hours sleep per night, I would frequently cry uncontrollably for what felt like hours and then burst into laughter, literary from one end of the mood scale to the other end.

At that point in my life I could totally see how depression can end in tragedy  as I would look at myself in the mirror and not know who I am,  to be honest, I felt ashamed this was not how “men behave”  looking back it at it now I really don’t know how I got through the working day, can’t express how tired I felt .

If it wasn’t for a good friend who recognized the signs I probably would have tried to carry on like that, at that point I didn’t believe in depression as I wasn’t unhappy, had a good job, good friends and two beautiful kids, so why me?

And that’s the million dollar question. Depression doesn’t care about circumstances, age, gender, race or anything else, It makes you not want to be social and things you have enjoyed give no pleasure anymore.

I don’t have the cure nor have I fully beat it but I will, my weapon of choice is exercise!! I know you can as well. This article will help you understand what depression is and ways to combat this awful illness, you don’t have to smile on the outside and pretend you’re fine anymore!

Can exercise really cure depression?  ABSOLUTELYdepression

So what is depression?


We all feel a little down at times when life throws us a curve ball, prolonged periods of feeling down is more a sign of depression and you just can’t seem to pick yourself up, socializing becomes increasingly difficult as you just can’t be bothered or you don’t get enjoyment out of things you may of previously.

Depression is most commonly known as a mental condition but it’s also a physical condition. Medical research has found that there is an imbalance of chemicals in your brain.

Depression usually comes with anxiety which is life crippling and can really affect everyday routines.

Some think of depression as a false illness, but I know from experience this is a real illness and you can’t just snap out if or put your chin up.

can exercise help with depression

How Do I Know If I Have It


Symptoms can vary from person to person you may feel tearful and sad but not upset about anything, in particular, finding yourself sleeping less or longer and an overwhelming feeling of hopefulness.

Physical symptoms may well be present as well, such as feeling exhausted or tired all the time and you may also lose your appetite or sex drive.

For a more detailed list click here to take you to the NHS website.

If you feel you may have any symptoms please go and get checked out by a Doctor

How does exercise help?


Now the part to make you feel better and there is light at the end of the tunnel believe me.

Exercise is one of the most underutilized treatment and the benefits of it are amazing! not only do you start to look different which will improve self-esteem you will release chemicals mainly from your brain and spinal cord.jump-for-joy-1312980

Depression is linked to high levels of the chemical cortisol, this is responsible for the feelings that accompany stress such as feeling sick and worry, exercising will release endorphins and these little beauties are the exact opposite.

Endorphins are the feel good factor chemicals and help to lower your perception of pain, they also act as sedatives, endorphins attach themselves to sites in the brain the same way as painkillers such as morphine, the best bit is you can’t become addicted like you can painkillers so you can feel good all the time through exercise.

Personally, I think cardio or HIITsuch as running, cycling and anything else that gets your heart rate up

So…… now you know about and my personal battle what depression is and how exercise helps please leave any comments on personal progress or if you want to email me privately

Thank you for taking the time to read this and good luck it can be done it is certainly not easy but defiantly worth it.

Can exercise help with depression? 100% yes its worked for me personally and millions of others out there as well and it can you

Final word


If you let it depression will rob you of life and joy, you don’t have to let it take steps today by being active I know its hard but living with it is harder.

Just start off small go for a walk or light jog this is more powerful than you think and your energy will start to come back so you can do more energetic activities once you break the grip on you, think of it as a snowball effect its starts off small and then just gets bigger and bigger the more you roll it through the snow.

this won’t be easy but it will be worth it just take a moment to imagine a life depression free, do you want that? how bad do you want it? YOU CAN HAVE IT.

Start by signing up for my newsletter to get regular workouts and tips. and go check out this motivation article.

I really do wish you all the best and please leave a comment I will return it within 24 hours

Healthy Regards


Click here to read my depression is back blog

24 thoughts on “Can Exercise Help With Depression | Take Back Control

  1. Michel

    Speaking from a personal experience, depression and anxiety was once a part of my daily life. I have struggled a lot during this phase, I was having panic attacks while walking down the streets. The only moments I felt normal was during workout sessions, weight training has helped a lot, it was like a getaway for me. I now live a normal happy life thanks to working out. Do you think cardio is as effective as weight training for fighting depression? Thanks!

    1. Steven

      I think there both good methods, cardio releases endorphin so for the short term happiness I think this is king but if your looking to beat depression long term then weight lifting will change your shape a lot more and make you feel more confident.

      personally speaking if both are performed then this would be a better chance at beating it.

  2. Matt's Mom

    I think that exercise is great for a lot of things. When my son is sick or just in a funk, I make him get out of the house and do some form of exercise. I think it heals a lot of different things, so I can see it helping with depression. I think you did a great job of explaining the benefits of exercise. Thanks for sharing your post!

    1. Steven

      Hi ,

      Exercise is the most under utilised medicine, the and safest drug we should be prescribed but yet the multi billion dollar pharma companies see to it health professionals prescribe tablets for everything.

      Not saying we shouldn’t take tablets but we should definitely explore exercise on prescription.

  3. Anna

    So sorry to here about your condition but I’m sure you are on the right track to beat the depression once and for all :). I totally agree that exercising is extremely uplifting. Apart from all the reasons you mentioned, I guess it might have also something to do with the fact that you have to breathe the right way to go through any exercise. And breathing exercises are apparently a good natural way to beat depression too. But this is just a guess :).

    1. Steven

      Hi Anna,

      Never thought about it depression and breathing but your right breathing exercises do help with the anxiety part of depression and if nothing else learning to breath right during exercise will help with learning to cope with anxiety thank you for the suggestion

  4. HolisticJB

    Thank you for an amazing post. It is not easy, especially for men, to admit to having depression. I guess we view it as weakness. I too was hit with crippling depression mid 2012…in a time when my life should, as viewed to the world, been at a huge peak and I was highly successful etc…however because I didn’t deal with it I ended up losing everything. Exercise was my way out. Now i am healthy, happy and depression free…but lost a lot of good people in the black times. I hope many people see your post. It will help

    1. Steven

      Hi HolisticJB,

      Depression doesn’t discriminate unfortunately, with out going through it people cant appreciate the true darkness of it and how easy it is to lose everything.

      Are you still doing well now?

  5. Craig

    yes busting bellies is the new trend after all that over eating at Christmas, i really like the black and white as it looks sleek and professional usually there is a lot of colour and it may be worth doing highlights of colour on say a fruit bowl but leaving the rest black and white this will highlight the health aspect and be visually appealing.
    best of luck Craig

  6. Viljoen

    Hi Steve

    First of all it is not a shame to have depression. I have had it for more than 5 years now and have been on and off from anti-depressants.

    It also gave me insomnia where I could not sleep and that only made the depression worse. It is not the end of the world and you have to realize that it is a disease and that there is nothing wrong with you.

    Exercise do help and I would recommend it to anyone. It also helps with your sleep as well. Eat healthy and get plenty of rest and try not to think that much.

  7. Caleb S.

    Great article! Exercise absolutely helps depression. There was a study done in 1999 that divided people with depression into two groups. One group just did exercise and the other group took SSRI’s, the common medication for depression. At the end of the study, both groups scored the same on depression rating scales showing exercise was just as effective as the SSRI. What gives exercise the edge in this study is there aren’t any harmful side effects like there are with SSRI’s.

    They did a follow-up to that study and found that the people in the exercise group where less likely to relapse too.

    As a chiropractor, exercise is my “drug” of choice to heal a whole host of conditions my patients have. I wish more people would look to a natural alternative, like exercise, instead of reaching for a pill bottle.

    1. Steven

      Hi Caleb,

      That would be an excellent study to get my hands on, do you know were i can find that? I wish doctors were more like you as they tend to verge on the side of the drug companies before exersice

  8. James W D

    Steven, first off I would like to thank you for sharing your story. Obviously doing that is not as easy as one might think and I applaud your courage.

    I myself and my wife have both battled this beast as well and it is a tough one. I can also attest though that exercise does help tremendously. If you are feeling down and are reading this article, I highly recommend to dig into this site for help on finding exercise ideas that will work for you!

    1. Steven Varley Post author

      Hi James,

      Thank you for taking time to read my article. I felt this is a important subject for many that unfortunately most live in silence, if i could help atleast one person then writing this was worth it.

      are you and your wife ok now?

  9. David

    Hi Steven
    Thank you for sharing this important article. Many men get depression and feel ashamed being labelled with it. Ask me how I know!

    You are so right about depression being physical as well as mental. Exercise is a very important method for controlling depression.

    Keep on writing these fantastic articles.


    1. Steven

      I take it you have had depression or got depression David, i just want to highlight to people there is a way to help yourself and its easier than what we think.

      Depression is not a mood you can snap out of like lots of people think and unfortunate for men were statistically less likely to get help.

  10. Ali

    I really do agree with what you write about in this article. I have noticed that when I’m feeling sluggish I will not feel like doing much but if I do about 45 minutes to an hour of exercise, afterwards I feel like a new person. It’s those endorphins 😀 And the exercise does make you look better as my body instantly feels firmer right after I’m done. It really is true that physical exercise is so beneficial on all levels not just the physical. Great article! 🙂

    1. Steven

      Hi, the benefits of exercise are truely imense and extremely quick i wishe the health industry and fitness industry would work togther but i guess the health industry wouldnt want to lose profits from there pharmasuticals

  11. Randy

    Hi Steven,
    This article could be a life saver for someone with depression.
    I know depression is present and real for a lot of people, this could help them get over it easier.
    I know for me personally whenever I get a good workout done, I feel a lot better during and after. Even if I’ve had a terrible day.
    Sometimes the only thing keeping me going on a bad day is knowing I’ll be going the the gym later!
    Thank you for writing this,

    1. Steven

      Hi Randy,

      The problem I find with depression is the secrecy although is getting better and more and more people are talking about it if it wasnt for exercise I honestly dont know were i would be it was so important to me my boss and colleuge offered to buy me a gym membership for a month to keep me out of the gym were I was working to recover quicker and not be drawn in to customer complaints and staff dramas,

      However i also recognise how hard it is to motivate your self to get up lace up and get sweaty

  12. Chris

    This is a really interesting article on handling depression in this way – makes a change from all the ‘upper’ misinformation that’s spilled out by some health websites . I can vouch for running in particular helping depression – it’s what I used to get over it several years ago! You sort of get a ‘high’ after exercise ( running in particular ) that eliminates all those dull feelings

    1. Steven

      Agreed I have not come across one person were exercise didn’t help with depression i think doctors are to quick to hand out tablets, im not saying tablets are not good because i have been on them but fitness is a much healthier non drug dependant treatment,

      I tried both cardio and weights and my thoughts re the cardio is great for immediate buzz but putting weights in to a programme later down the line gives great self esteem when you seen muscles changing shape

  13. Diane

    Steven, I read your article about depression, the symptoms of and how to battle it through exercise and it makes a lot of sense. I think that sometimes we need to try to change our mindset and focus on things that make us feel better, to overcome whatever is making us depressed. By this I mean, realizing we have a problem and not letting it overtake us. We do this by putting up a fight and not giving up on ourselves. By proving that what we have inside is the will or the want to, to do something about it, by exercising. This makes our bodies healthier while helping us to focus on something truly good for us.

    1. Steven Varley Post author

      Totally agree good health is about mind as well as body and typically we only focus on what’s going on, on the outside were in such a focused state about bills etc that we forget the beauty around us, I can remember when I come out of depression how amazing the river looked at sundown how I missed that I’ll never know I’m 33 have I been walking around blind?


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