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The first time i beat ten boats in the nationals!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Depression and Exercise

I was talking to a new client this morning about her reasons for exercising, and it hasn't been the first time that the subject of depression has come up. From a training perspective, it is a hard subject, because the medication often causes the person to put on weight, which makes them feel worse!

It is well documented that exercise can help manage mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Beyond Blue’s numerous fact sheets recommend exercise as an alternative treatment for depression and anxiety, and a tool for you to “help yourself” when faced with this disease.

Depression in athletes has been documented as far as dealing with pressure and performance, as well as overtraining, but what happens to one’s mental state when you cease regular exercise? There is no research on this topic, so i asked some of our Olympic Athletes and clients of Galileo Personal Training their opinions.

Robin Bell, who won bronze in Beijing 2008 Slalom Canoe and participated in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games, says that he never experienced depression whilst training for any of the Olympic games, despite being “always tired“. Once he retired after Beijing, he found he lacked motivation to exercise because he did not have a goal. He struggled with sleeping and concentrating, and felt generally “like a slob”. He began “fun exercise” like surfing and mountain biking to “feel better”.

Whilst this is not proof that lack of exercise can cause depression, it does show how exceptional, motivated, and talented individuals can fall for the same traps as every-day joe. Exercise can help improve even a well-balanced person’s mental state.

After training at Galileo!

You often see in the 30min spent with each client training, their mood improving as the session progresses. I often think you've done a good job if they walk out feeling better than when they walk in (that's right, you do not have to be nailed every time you do a PT session - if you are, maybe you need to come to Galileo for a session to try it out!!).

Any kind of activity is good activity. Contact my studio if you need help!

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