How running helps with depression

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Lysanne Wilkens
Lysanne Wilkens Vrijdag, 2 oktober 2015
How running helps with depression
© Duy vu Dinh

Do you suffer from gloomy feelings, stress at work or are you close to burnout? If so, go for a run! Regular exercise can reduce the risk of depression

In the Netherlands, about one in five adults will experience depression at some point in their lives. Especially in the winter months, we seem to be prone to gloom and depression. The remedy is simple: regular exercise. Various studies have shown that exercise makes you more cheerful and happy. The chance of developing depressive symptoms is as much as one and a half times smaller when you exercise regularly. Do you nevertheless have depression hanging over your head? Exercising outdoors can aid in recovery.

Running makes you happy

The fact that exercise is so effective has to do with the increased release of neurotransmitters in the brain during exercise. The levels of dopamine, serotonin and endorphins increase, making you happier and less stressed. Exercising also increases your self-confidence and self-esteem. You push your limits, which enables you to take pride in yourself. Gloomy, depressive feelings are reduced and your mood is boosted!

You can learn to benefit

How long you have to run to experience this effect varies from person to person, but as little as 20 to 30 minutes often seems to be enough to make you feel good. If you make it too hard for yourself, running can have the opposite effect. It is particularly important that you regularly work up a sweat so that you can benefit from a constant supply of happiness chemicals. Research shows that three months of consistent exercise has an effect similar to taking antidepressants.

So running can be a great remedy when you are not feeling comfortable in your own skin. It brings peace of mind, increases your self-confidence and makes you resilient. Feelings of depression, anxiety and aggression fade into the background. Nevertheless, regular exercise is not a panacea and it is wise to seek professional help if you are experiencing symptoms of depression.

Lysanne Wilkens
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Lysanne Wilkens

Lysanne Wilkens is freelance redacteur voor hardlopen.nl en gaat met alle plezier op zoek naar bijzondere verhalen. Daarnaast is ze zelf fanatiek hardloper en kan ze op diverse afstanden uit de voeten, van de 800 meter tot de halve marathon.

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Zilveren Kruis helpt hardlopers met een uitgebreide collectieve zorgverzekering. Zo is je zorg goed geregeld. En profiteer je van extra’s die je helpen je gezond te voelen en lekker te sporten.