How to Exercise When Depressed: My Top 3 Tips!!

Now, I’ve never experienced depression PERSONALLY, at least not as a condition. But I’m familiar with the idea of NOT wanting to get out of bed in the morning some days…So when I read an article about how to exercise when depressed, I thought…This article could really help EVERYBODY!

So I wanted to share some of these tips, and add my own — although, OF COURSE, I know that sometimes only medication and therapy helps with conditions like major depression and anxiety.

  • Tip #1: This is pretty uncomfortable if the idea of sleeping in your sports bra makes you squirm, but I honestly thought it was kind of brilliant: Sleep in your workout outfit!! And then keep your shoes in an easy-to-access place, like next to your bed or right by the door. Keep your water bottle, combination lock, anything else you need or a gym bag ready. Then all you’ll have to do is literally jump out of bed, brush your teeth and do your hair or whatever, & run out the door!!

The more steps you know you have to do before getting to the gym in the morning or the evening, the more likely you are to just say, “UGH, never mind.” Half the battle is GETTING to the gym, right? 😉

So I thought having everything ready and waiting is genius…The same strategy you use for getting ready in the morning (laying your outfit out the night before…NOT necessarily sleeping in it, I guess…

But HEY, whatever works!! And hopefully you have comfortable enough sportswear that it feels like pajamas, right? I know I do! 😉

  • Tip #2: This is something I thought could backfire a little, but VALUABLE nonetheless!! 🙂 Sign up for a class that you have to pay for in advance. And also, get to KNOW people at the class, so they expect you there and miss you when you’re gone. 🙂 That way, you feel more of an OBLIGATION to go, as well as a support network of people who are right there with you!! That’s how to exercise when depressed!!

Nothing torches depression faster than a socialization-exercise COMBO, because socializing = increased oxytocin = STIMULATING parasympathetic nervous system = decreased stress!! And exercise = endorphins = pain relief!!! And again, I know this isn’t enough for everyone’s depression, but it is certainly a beautiful natural remedy once you can get started…

The reason I thought this MIGHT backfire is, if you’re depressed and try to pay for a month of classes and then you really just can’t go to any of them…then you’ll feel bad about yourself for a losing all that money…But, I know paying for classes upfront has helped keep me accountable for sure, and probably more so feeling like MY CHALLENGE GROUP would be like, “Where the heck is Bonnie??” if I wasn’t around!! Like I said, I assume that is probably the best tip on how to exercise when depressed!

  • Tip #3: Start SMALL if exercise is new to you. You don’t want to tell yourself you’re going to get up at 5 AM every day, and set yourself up for failure, disappointment, and negative self-talk when you can’t hack that…Don’t tell yourself that you’re going to run 5 miles if you’ve never been able to run 1!!! 😉

Instead, research achievable goals for yourself, which I told you how to do in last week’s blog post, “Am I In SHAPE?” (Find Out with Fitness Charts and Graphs)!

That post is all about NUMBERS you need — appropriate amounts of weights you should be lifting, and what your goals can be with body fat loss!!

Last but not least, I think the most important tip for how to exercise when depressed…especially if it’s severe for you…

  • BONUS Tip: Don’t beat yourself up, because not every “Jedi mind trick” that works for some people will work for YOU!! Whether that’s having a simple morning routine to get you out the door and into the gym…or motivating yourself with goal NUMBERS for lifting/running/etc. …or motivating yourself through paid classes or simple realistic goals…

You definitely should not feel like a “failure,” EVER, and that’s the key thing!!

The fact that you’re TRYING in the first place is absolutely MONUMENTAL, babe…and anything else you can accomplish is just icing on the cake!! <3

exercise when depressed

About the Author Melissa McAllister

My name is Melissa McAllister. I just turned 44! I have a son and daughter and my husband and I are new empty nesters! My husband is the reason I eat, drink, and sleep health and fitness. He has 2 speeds, GO and GO Faster. We have been together for over 28 years and married for 23 (yes, he had me at “hello!”). Don’t get me wrong though…I was a Doritos and Coca Cola eating Hoover when I was in school! Fitness has been an essential part of my life for over 19 years. I have the 3 best jobs in the world—being a stay-at-home Mom, business owner, and group exercise instructor for several large fitness chains. I have been teaching everything from yoga to kickboxing for over 17 years. I have also had the great opportunity to train, inspire, and motivate other instructors for the past 11 years. You might even see me in a few fitness videos out there! 😉 Reaching out to others who are struggling to be healthy and happy is my passion. I couldn’t tell you next Fall’s latest fashion must have or what flowers to plant this season, but I can help you achieve your health and fitness goals. With your determination and my motivation, we can find and keep the best YOU! I will inspire by holding myself and those around me accountable!

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