To improve your mood it doesn't seem to matter what kind of exercise you do, nor do you have to become physically fit. In a trial, 40 depressed women were randomly assigned to 8 weeks of running, a weight-lifting programme or a waiting list. Results for both exercise groups were similar and both were less depressed than the control group at the end of the trial.
Other studies reached the same conclusion. In a study of hospitalised depressed patients, mood and fitness improved after a walking or jogging programme, but it didn't matter how much they did of one or the other.
In a study of 55 college students who had had a high number of stressful life events in the previous year, some were assigned to aerobic exercise training, some to relaxation training, and others to no treatment; after the 11-week programme, those who had exercised scored lower on a standard depression test than the other two groups.
In another trial, 43 female students who showed substantial mood symptoms (though not actual depression), took part in either 10 weeks of regular aerobic exercise (1 hour, twice a week), relaxation training, or no exercise. Reductions in depression scores were significantly and consistently greater in the aerobics group. The proof is there. Now if you are ready to make a difference in your life and you are fed up of feeling low, then it's up to you to decide what you will do to increase the amount of exercise you do. Starting to exercise can be simple. Open your front door and walk for just 5 minutes then turn round and go back again. Easy! Next day walk for 10 minutes away from your home and then 10 minutes to return. Do this for several days keeping to 10 minutes out and 10 minutes back but try to walk a bit further each day so you increase the pace of your walking.
Increase the time you walk by about 5 minutes every few days so you are walking a bit further and faster as the days progress.
Always take the stairs If you live in a block of flats you have the perfect opportunity to increase your exercise stamina each time you go out or come home again. Walking up and down stairs is a great ways to exercise and improve not only your heart health, your general health but also your emotional well-being too. Discover how to find the 'new you' here.