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By Pfizer Medical Team on Get Healthy Stay Healthy

You probably know that exercise is a good thing, but when you have depression, it may be the last thing you want to do. It may help to know that physical activity can help us lose weight and reduce blood pressure.

Studies have shown that regular exercise may also help relieve tension and stress and promote feelings of calm and wellbeing. Though further research is needed, studies in people with depression show that physical exercise can sometimes help:

  • Improve the effects on mood in some people
  • Reduce symptoms of depression in people
  • Benefit people with mild, moderate or severe depression

The challenges of getting started

You might have trouble finding the motivation to exercise. After all, depression can cause disturbed sleep, reduced energy, appetite changes, body aches and pain.

Here a few tips that may help:

  • Start small. Even 5 minutes of walking or any other activity is a way to get started. Try to focus on taking that first step, or lifting that one weight. Who knows, that 5 minutes can turn into 10 minutes, and so on.
  • Set realistic goals. If you’re limited in your physical abilities, doing leg lifts while sitting in your chair or other chair exercises may be what’s right for you. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider before starting any new physical activity.
  • Switch things up. If you find yourself getting bored with your exercise routine, try something different. Think yoga, dancing, or hiking.
  • Do something fun. If you like dancing, take a dance class or turn on the music at home and get shaking.
  • Be sure to speak to your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program.

Want to get started with becoming more active?

Consider tracking your mood before and after your workouts to keep motivated.

Download this tool.

Exercise: A Natural High


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Following these recommendations should be under the care of your physician, as results may vary.

Medically reviewed by Elizabeth Pappadopulos, PhD, Global Medical Affairs, Pfizer

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