Tip of the Month
There is now strong evidence to support the beneficial effects of exercise for those suffering from depression. Exercise does not replace the need for medication but can increase feelings of well-being, brighten mood, increase energy and improve sleep.
Any form of exercise that you find enjoyable is suitable. If you do not have an exercise routine already, start by doing something simple and easy such as walking at a moderate pace. If you are not in the habit of walking, or lacking in energy, a realistic goal may be a five-minute walk once or twice a day.
Whatever form of exercise you choose, set some goals that you feel you can achieve. A five minute walk twice a day for 5 days out of seven may be a realistic goal. If you miss a day or do not reach your goal the first time don’t let this be an excuse to give up. Set a smaller goal, one that you can achieve easily.
As the beneficial effects of exercise start to be felt you can increase the length of time you exercise. Your final goal may be to walk 30-45 minutes three or five times a week. The aim is to feel pleasantly tired, not exhausted.
Try to incorporate walking into your day, a 15 minute walk at lunchtime, or perhaps get off the bus a stop early and walk home. Try to walk up the stairs instead of taking the lift, walk the long way to an appointment. As you meet your exercise goals you may wish to reward yourself in some way as an incentive to continue.
Once you feel the benefits of walking you may wish to move on to other forms of exercise such as swimming, biking, or working in the gym. Whichever activity you choose remember the rules of keeping the exercise pleasurable, setting realistic goals and achieving a feeling of being pleasantly