Monday, October 20, 2008

Depression, Diet and Exercise

Just had a conversation with Susan Ray, a therapist who specializes in depression counseling. She wanted to refer some of her clients to me so they could get some much needed exercise. That really got my attention and I wanted to explain a few things to those who might be checking out this site for that reason

First of all I'm not a doctor and I have no training in Psychology or Counseling.
I am an athlete, lifeguard, coach, personal trainer and an EMT.

Diet and exercise are a real passion.

I did some research on Depression and a lot of it was . . . depressing . . . and complicated. Lots of drugs prescribed and some hard to decipher symptoms. I'm glad I'm not the one deciding who has and who does not have a serious depression problem. But even if I were the one making such decisions I would tell everyone to eat healthy foods (lots of fresh not processed food) and to get lots of exercise.

When you’re depressed, exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing. But exercise is a powerful tool for dealing with depression. In fact, studies show that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication at increasing energy levels and decreasing feelings of fatigue.
According to web

Regular exercise has been proven to help:

  • Reduce stress
  • Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Improve sleep

Exercise also has these added health benefits:

  • It strengthens your heart.
  • It increases energy levels.
  • It lowers blood pressure
  • It improves muscle tone and strength.
  • It strengthens and builds bones.
  • It helps reduce body fat.
  • It makes you look fit and healthy.
And just to make sure you get the point here are five other sources that suggest exercise is a powerful treatment for depression:

How Does Exercise Relieve Depression?

Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms -

Exercise and Depression

Exercise and Depression Research Reveals Exercise Helps Depression

Exercise as Medicine for Depression

And what about diet and Depression? Same thing. Many (most) doctors and Psychologists agree that diet plays a major role in depression. Junk food (highly processed food products) is depressing. It doesn't simply not help but it actually causes depression. Food (nuts, seeds, berries, grains, fruit, vegetables and meat) produce changes in the brain that can lift you out of mild or even serious depression.

Junk Food Linked To Violence and Depression

Depression, Diet May Affect Your Symptoms. Dr. Christensen

Diet for Depression

Now try to imagine what could happen if we all had a really healthy diet and exercised a lot. We'd probably put a lot of counselors and psychologists out of business and Susan Ray will have to focus on her other specialty; Marriage Family Counseling.

And I'm here to help towards that goal with weekly group exercise meetings (all outside) in both the Kailua and East Honolulu areas.

We'll meet in groups of five or less and go for hikes, swims, long walks on sandy beaches and all sorts of other fun and healthy stuff. You don't have to be good at any of this. I'll help you set goals and help you achieve them.

I'll start with three different groups:
1) non exercisers who know they have to start.
2) the intermediate group who can do it but need help and motivation.
3) Teens

Call me at 223-0309 or email at and we'll get you (or your kids ) in the right group and having fun while getting exercise outdoors.

And check back here for more on this.

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