The Effects of Regular Exercise on Depression

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Hypothesis:

The elevated levels of endorphins released during exercise make it an effective treatment for depression.

My Initial Hypothesis

When people hear the word fitness, they generally think of physical strength and endurance. When it comes down to it, the fitness lifestyle is all about the overall health of a person, not just physical resilience, strength, and endurance. That is why fitness is a lifestyle, not just a sporadic schedule of trips to the track or gym. While a somewhat irregular workout schedule can produce some results physically, it will not produce any significant change to ones physical state and most importantly will not result in a person receiving the full fitness experience, including its mental benefits. I myself once believed that fitness was only a physical matter, and so I only pursued the physical side of fitness in the form of running and lifting. I was not aware that fitness was about more than that. I was also not aware of the fact that while I was only pursuing the physical side of fitness, it was affecting my mind as well.

After spending more time in the fitness community, I noticed that everyone I met who was serious about fitness was very easygoing, nice, relaxed in nature, and simply overall less noticeably depressed than any other group of people that I associate with. I eventually began to wonder whether this had anything to do with the physical activity itself causing people to behave this way, and if so could it help some of my other friends with depression. Physical performance is always affected by a person’s mental state, so it seems very plausible that things could work the other way around as well, that a person’s mental state may be affected by their physical performance since there is obviously a connection between body and mind.

The Empirical Evidence

There are several things that happen to the human brain as a result of exercise. Exercise balances the levels of several endorphins in the brain, as well as increasing the production of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor),

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