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The Best Kept Secret For Treating Depression

February 12, 2005 | 50,215 views
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Almost 19 million Americans are thought to suffer from depressive disorders. Not to mention only 23 percent of individuals with clinical depression seek treatment, only 10 percent of which receive adequate care. However, researchers may have discovered a new "drug" for depression most anyone can take advantage of and utilize: Exercise.

In a study, which involved 80 adults aged 20 to 45 years who were diagnosed with mild to moderate depression, researchers looked at exercise alone to treat the condition and found:

  • Depressive symptoms were cut almost in half in those individuals who participated in 30-minute aerobic exercise sessions, three to five times a week after 12 weeks
  • Those who exercised with low-intensity for three and five days a week showed a 30 percent reduction in symptoms
  • Participants who did stretching flexibility exercises 15 to 20 minutes three days a week averaged a 29 percent decline

The results of this study are similar to that of other studies, which involved patients with mild or moderate depression being treated with antidepressants or cognitive therapy -- proving patients need not rely on drugs to treat depression.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine January 2005;28(1):1-8 (Free Full-Text Article)

Medical News Today January 24, 2005.

What Are GMOs?

From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.

GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

Help Support GMO Labeling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.

Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.

Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve

Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.

Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.

Donate Today!


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

When using exercise as a drug, it is important to set a goal of 60 to 90 minutes per day, every day. Obviously, depending on your current condition, you may need to work slowly up to this level. My experience is that weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, running, Nordic Track and Health Rider are better than cycling and swimming. If you have access to a health club, my favorite piece of equipment there is the elliptical machine.

Cycling and swimming take far longer to produce the same benefit and each have their own problems. If you are cycling outdoors you run the risk of being killed or injured by a motor vehicle. Swimming is usually done in chlorinated pools, which has its own problems. If you are able to swim in the ocean, the salt water provides an incredible synergism that far exceeds the value of the exercise.

However, one of the largest obstacles faced by people who haven't exercised in some time is how to get started. Just the thought of starting an exercise program can be intimidating. Whenever patients ask me what kind of activity is best, my answer is always the same: Walking is a wonderful way to get started. It is very low impact so it is easy on the joints.

In fact, most people find it is simple and enjoyable to fit a walk into their day. It is also one of the most cost effective ways to get exercise, as it does not require much training and the only equipment needed is a good pair of walking shoes. You can walk just about anywhere and you can do it anytime.

So what makes walking a workout?

This depends on your initial fitness level. If you are starting out in poor shape, slow-paced walking will produce benefits, but if you are starting out in better condition, you will need to walk faster and/or farther to see any results. Regardless of your starting level, the more vigorous your walking pace, the more dramatic the conditioning effects will be. When walking for exercise you should walk at a steady pace that is fast enough to cause your heart rate to rise.

In my experience most people increase their fitness level relatively rapidly while walking and the only way they can continue to stress themselves enough while walking is to walk on a treadmill with an incline. This works well for many, especially during the cold winter months, but less so for those who want to exercise outdoors in the nice weather. Some of the emotional health benefits of exercise include:

  • Feel better
  • Sleep better
  • Have a better outlook overall

The practical problem with using exercise in depression, however, is that the desire to pursue any activity, let alone exercise, is not very high. The converse though also needs to be considered: Just because one exercises regularly that does not mean you cannot become depressed. Exercise makes it easier to treat depression, but it certainly does not cure it in everyone. If this is the case for you, you may want to consider methods such as the energy psychology tool Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), to address underlying emotional triggers to your depression.

For serious depressions I would not advise using this tool by yourself, but rather as a supplement to work with a trained EFT practitioner. I suggest taking a look at Gary Craig's EFT Practitioner Referrals. Many of these therapists even offer a free 15-minute phone session in which you can ask them questions to see if you connect.

Additionally, optimizing your diet is clearly an important step toward treating depression, and one of the most important tools will be to make sure you are getting enough omega-3 fats.

Related Articles:

Exercise Good for Depression

Exercise Better Than Drugs For Depression

Start Exercising: It’s Never Too Late

Free Tool to Set and Meet Exercise Goals

Treatment Options for Healing Depression

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