It is estimated that 10% or 27 million Americans are on antidepressants. The good news is that they can be very effective particularly for severe depression. They also can be helpful for mild to moderate depression. The other thing that has been found to help mild to moderate depression is exercise. Thirty minutes or more a day three to five days a week can make a big difference. Exercise boosts endorphins, which improves mood. It also increases body temperature, which can have a calming effect. It can improve anxiety and boost self-esteem. If you exercise outside there is even greater potential improvement.
In fact, a recently released study has found that exercising in the great outdoors for just 5 minutes a day can improve mood and self-esteem. Outdoor activities included gardening, walking, bicycling and farming.
I find it fascinating that as we have become more of an indoor-based society and have gotten away from working outdoors, depression has risen precipitously. Maybe the results of this study are reflecting exactly that. I think it is important that all of us evaluate our activity level, our relationship with the out of doors and think about reconnecting with our roots….like the ones in the ground. Maybe many of us would be able to get off some of the antidepressant medications.