Running for Depression

Depression is the leading cause of disability for persons between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States. There have been many theories and studies done on why this may be, but regardless of the cause, scientists agree that working out, specifically aerobic exercises that strengthen the cardiovascular system and build muscle help ease and, in certain cases, dispel the effects of this disease. Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The symptoms can range from sadness to lack of interest, feelings of emptiness, irritation, restlessness and many more.

 

Although it has been long known to runners that long distance running can alter mood and increase the amount of endorphins released throughout the body, in recent years a new phenomenon has been studied which links long distance running to the creation of new neurons. A neuron is a cell that transmits electric signals throughout the brain and spinal cord. It was once scientific fact that new neurons were never created after childhood, but recent studies have shown otherwise. This is especially true in the part of the brain called the hippocampus, which controls memory and learning. This has been directly linked to less reaction to stress and anxiety. From this, we can see that running long distances can improve mood and cause an increase in neurons in endorphins.

 

Furthermore, it has been shown that running has the same effect on the brain as cognitive therapy for people with Major Depression. The US as a country spends 25 billion dollars a year (2008) on antidepressants. There are approximately 318.9 million people in the United States. That means there is about $78.40 for every person in the United States. That $78 is enough to buy this cute little number from Lululemon: http://shop.lululemon.com/products/clothes-accessories/womens-patterns-and-prints/Sunset-Salutation-Short-Pr?cc=20497&skuId=3628651&catId=womens-patterns-and-prints.
Or, you can purchase these COOL running shoes: http://www.citysports.com/adidas-Springblade—Mens/222070/Product

So, put down the Zoloft and pick up some running shoes. Run a mile, or two, or twenty six. You won’t regret it.

 

 

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/index.shtml#MajorDepressive

http://prefrontal.org/blog/2008/09/the-neuroscience-of-running/

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