Exercise is one of the best ways to fight depression without the use of drugs.  Numerous studies have shown that exercise can even outperform drugs in alleviating symptoms of depression.  Another plus point for exercise is its ability to deliver positive results without harmful side effects.

These are some of the reasons why health and medical experts always recommend exercise as part of a regimen given to patients who are suffering from depression.

To clear their doubts, a group of researchers conducted a study to prove the anti depressant effects of exercise.

In the study, the group of researchers examined three groups of patients.  The first group was treated with exercise.  The second group was treated with a combination of exercise and Zoloft, an antidepressant drug, and the third group was treated with Zoloft alone.

After four months of treatment, the researchers found a significant improvement in all three groups.  But 38 percent of those treated with Zoloft and 31 percent of those treated with Zoloft and exercise experienced a relapse of their depression.

Only eight percent of the patients who were treated with exercise experienced recurrence of their psychological malady.

Here are some the reasons why exercise helps to fight depression:

1. Exercise is known to raise the levels of serotonin in the body.  Medical and health experts believe that depression and low serotonin levels are associated to each other.

2. Exercise stimulates the body to produce amino acids called endorphins, a feel good hormone that helps to suppress pain and stress.  It also serves as a neurotransmitter that helps to alleviate depression.

Endorphins are also believed to trigger “runner’s high,” a feeling of euphoria experienced by runners and people who engage in prolonged exercises.

How much exercise do you need?

You don’t really need to engage in tough bone-breaking exercises to experience its depression-fighting benefits.  Although hard exercises help to tone your muscles and increase your endurance and strength, engaging in mild to moderate exercises is sufficient to fight depression.

You only need to exercise for as little as 20 minutes a day, three times a week to keep depression at bay.

Some of the most common exercises that help to fight depression include walking, running, bicycling, jogging, and aerobic and non-aerobic exercises.

One good thing about exercise is that it helps to combat depression for as long as you do it.

You can maximize the stress-relieving benefits of exercise by complementing it with other natural ways.

1. Eat lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains and fish;

2. Take enough sleep and sufficient rest to allow your body to recharge;

3. Drink plenty of water;

4. Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners;

5. Consume sufficient amounts of unrefined salt.