Battling Depression? 4 Types of Exercises That Improve Mood

improve mood

During their lifetimes, approximately 10% of Americans will battle the heartbreaking symptoms of depression. If you’re dealing with this serious mental illness, you may be struggling to find an effective solution to your problem. Exercise is a proven method for relieving depression in many people. If you wish to try this widely successful form of therapy, consider starting with the following 4 types of exercises that improve mood.

4 Exercises That Improve Mood

battling depressionStrength Training

If you’ve been feeling blue lately, you should try pumping some iron. A study looked at the effects of strength training on mood. During the research process, stroke patients who were battling depression completed a 10 week strength training regimen. Amazingly, many of them experienced a decrease in their symptoms following the program. If you’re new to this type of exercise, you may want to work with a personal trainer. Some basic strength training moves to try include:

  • Triceps extension
  • Biceps curl
  • Bench press
  • Leg extension
  • Squat
  • Lunge
  • Chest press


In addition to strength training, cardiovascular exercise is also a great way to boost your mood. Running, in particular, has been shown to help people dealing with depression. Many experienced runners attest to feeling a sense of exhilaration after running a certain distance. This “euphoria is due to the release of endorphins in the brain in response to the sustained physical activity.” If running is not your preferred type of cardiovascular exercise, you should engage in the kind of intense physical activity you enjoy the most. In order to stimulate mood, many medical experts recommend completing 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity on most days of the week.


Yoga is one of the best exercises that improve mood. This form of exercise that originated in the eastern part of the world:

  • Improves your strength
  • Improves your balance
  • Increases your flexibility
  • Makes you concentrate on your breathing
  • Makes you more mindful of your surroundings
  • Decreases your negative thoughts

If you haven’t practiced this graceful form of exercise before, consider signing up for a group class at your local gym. Or, you may wish to schedule some sessions with a personal trainer. In order for yoga to be an effective form of depression therapy, you need to know how to complete the moves correctly.

Outdoor Activities

Does your job require you to stay indoors all day long? Perhaps, you live in a condo or town home with little green space. If you can relate to one or both of these scenarios, you may need to start enjoying outdoor activities more often. Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that helps stabilize your mood. If you lack enough serotonin, you may become depressed. Fortunately, sunlight increases your serotonin levels. Therefore, a combination of sunshine and exercise is a great way to boost your mood. Some outdoor exercises that improve mood to try include:

  • Gardening
  • Washing a car
  • Walking down a dirt road
  • Playing softball
  • Throwing a Frisbee
  • Playing golf

For many people, depression is a disorder that negatively impacts their lives. If you’re dealing with the devastating effects of this mental health problem, don’t lose hope. You may be able to find relief with the aforementioned 4 exercises that improve mood. Your solution to a brighter tomorrow might start with a trip to your local gym today.

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