09/11/2014 11:55 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Women and Depression: New Research Data on Why We Need To Be Exercising


So many reasons to exercise! Enhanced creativity. More focused productivity. Less anxiety and depression. Less confusion. Better aging.

Ahhh ... more peace of mind.

Depression wears many different faces. And it can have a negative impact on almost every area of living. According to Everyday Health:

Symptoms may include everything from hopelessness and fatigue to physical pain. And just as symptoms vary from person to person, so do the actual diagnoses. The word depression is actually just an umbrella term for a number of different forms, from major depression to atypical depression to dysthymia.

Along with good psychotherapy, and if necessary, short- or long-term medication prescribed by a psychiatrist, moving your body will help move the energy and could reset your neurochemistry. According to the Massachusett's General Hospital Center for Women's Mental Health:

Exercise should be included as an adjunct form of therapy for depression. At this time, the literature best supports that it be added to other treatments rather than taking the place of standard treatments such as medication or psychotherapy. Clinicians should discuss the benefits of exercise with their patients.

Help Your Brain

Because depression can have such a powerful impact on cognitive abilities, including feeling confused and having a hard time making decisions, anything that supports healthy brain activity can be helpful.

According to The Guardian, "Neuroscientists at Cambridge University have shown that running stimulates the brain to grow fresh grey matter and it has a big impact on mental ability." The article goes on to report:

A few days of running led to the growth of hundreds of thousands of new brain cells that improved the ability to recall memories without confusing them, a skill that is crucial for learning and other cognitive tasks, researchers said.

The new brain cells appeared in a region that is linked to the formation and recollection of memories. The work reveals why jogging and other aerobic exercise can improve memory and learning, and potentially slow down the deterioration of mental ability that happens with old age.

The ability to "recall memories without confusing them" is an important one to reinforce, especially as we age.

For those who struggle with depression, it becomes even more important to try and move. Because exercise can improve memory recollection, and lessen confusion.

And because depression doesn't disappear as we age.

Is Exercising Better For Your Thinking Than Thinking?

According to the New York Times:

Using sophisticated technologies to examine the workings of individual neurons -- and the makeup of brain matter itself -- scientists in just the past few months have discovered that exercise appears to build a brain that resists physical shrinkage and enhance cognitive flexibility. Exercise, the latest neuroscience suggests, does more to bolster thinking than thinking does.

The answer is actually yes, exercising just might be better for thinking than thinking.

If you're someone who has to manage rumination -- way too much thinking, mostly in circles, usually obsessive -- exercise may really help to cut down on this sometimes debilitating symptom.

Peace of Mind, Anyone?

Five minutes a day is all it takes to live longer, and better, according to a new study. According to the New York Times:

Running for as little as five minutes a day could significantly lower a person's risk of dying prematurely, according to a large-scale new study of exercise and mortality. The findings suggest that the benefits of even small amounts of vigorous exercise may be much greater than experts had assumed.

What if five minutes of exercising could make a real difference for you?

Really. Exercise may be the ultimate way to enhance pretty much every aspect of your life, whether or not you suffer from depression.

But if you're one of the millions who struggle, anything you can do to get up and move (five minutes is good! use a treadmill, in the house -- it's right there, and you can watch TV) will positively change your neurochemistry.

There's so much that you can do feel better, and to stay feeling better.

How about trying five minutes, for five days?