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November 18, 2010 10:23 AM Subscribe
What's the best exercise for depression and/or anxiety, and how do I stick with it?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (36 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
The situation: I'm mildly depressed pretty much year-round, but it gets really rough in the winter as the sun goes away. I'm kind of hanging on with my fingernails right now, not in a deep depression but staring it down, and I'd really like to start treating it before it's too late. I have a lot of anxiety about taking psychotropic medications, so that's unfortunately out, and I'm currently looking for a therapist but not seeing anyone. Hence the search for exercise, which I know is often recomended for this type of situation. What would you say is the most effective exercise to help with depression, and how can someone who can barely get out of bed in the morning persist in doing it?
The fitness details: I'm in my 20s, female, pretty unhealthy right now (probably 80 pounds over my ideal weight). I have a gym membership and maybe $100-$150 I'm able to devote to extra-gym activity costs, and I work a standard 9-5 so I have evening hours free for exercise. I'm not currently exercising except for gentle beginner's yoga twice a week. I don't have the space in my apartment to do an at-home cardio program, but I could probably find time for some quiet activity during the hours most people are asleep. I am not, sadly, a morning person. I live in the Pacific Northwest and the rain is kind of neverending here right now. I'm pretty intimidated at this point by competitive or team-based activities because they're unfamiliar and full of potential to fail and, well, I'm depressed and that freaks me out.
Throwaway e-mail email@example.com; I wrote a novel of special snowflake details but it was a little overwhelming.