Why HIIT Exercises Help With Depression

A lot of people suffer from anxiety and depression. In many cases, it goes unrecognized or mistaken for a different physical ailment. In other cases, the more traditional route is taken, such as medication and/or therapy. One addition that’s being used as adjunct therapy is exercise and the best type of exercise is intense exercise. Most people can’t continue a high level of intensity for very long. That’s where HIIT—high intense interval training—becomes important. HIIT alternates exercise intensity between a high intense level and a recovery level. HIIT exercises help with depression and it’s an option most people can do.

HIIT is good for circulation.

All types of exercise boost circulation when you compare it to sitting on the couch. However, HIIT works a bit differently. You workout at top speed or intensity for a few minutes and then move to a recovery for the same length of time or longer. You then go back to the high intensity movements. Each repetition boosts metabolism and increases circulation. It triggers the production of Mother Nature’s natural pain relievers, the happy hormones, like serotonin. It also sends nutrient and oxygen laden cells to the brain and all parts of the body, aiding in repairing damaged cells.

HIIT increases GABA and glutamate.

Both GABA and glutamate are neurotransmitters. Both also help improve your mood, which is extremely important for anyone with depression or anxiety. That bit of internal chemistry is just the fix for people with mild depression and helps anyone that has more severe problems. HIIT has even been shown beneficial for people with other mood related disorders like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. HIIT has been shown effective to also increase the protein BDNF. It helps regulate your mood. This increase adds to the other changes to improve the symptoms of someone with depression.

The good news is that anyone can do HIIT workouts.

You don’t have to do a specific workout and you don’t have a specific intensity. Your peak intensity may be something quite different than a seasoned athlete or veteran of the gym. Just go until your heart rate is up or it’s difficult to say anything besides making guttural sounds. Those two things are signs of high intensity, then slow down the workout, catching your breath a bit, for an equal amount of time or longer. You can do this type of workout just walking and adjusting speed, or using a regular workout doing strength, flexibility and/or aerobic training.

  • There are other benefits to HIIT workouts. You’ll be more apt to do them, since you don’t have to work out as long due to the increased intensity. You can cut your workout time in half with HIIT.
  • Besides getting mental health benefits from HIIT, there are other physical benefits. HIIT can lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure. It also burns tons of calories.
  • Always check with your health care professional first before starting any program of exercise, especially HIIT that pushes your body. If you’re new to exercise, start with HIIT walks and work from that to the next level of exercise.
  • Studies show that just starting a program of fitness improves your self-image. Improving your body also improves the way you feel about yourself. Exercise also improves posture, which in turn, can improve how others see you and ultimately how you see yourself.

For more information, contact us today at Targeted Nutrition Technologies