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Our routine currently consists of four laps (a mile) of speed walking, four laps of running and a lap of lunges. I had to work up to the lap of lunges, and we keep increasing the speed and distance, and decreasing the rest periods every week.
On Saturdays, we hike a nearby mountain called Piestewa Peak, and on Sundays we rest. If weather doesn’t permit outside workouts, we go to one of our houses/apartments and do a TurboFire video workout. Before, during and after working out we also talk, so we are experiencing both positive social contact and exercise at once.
There are many other types of workouts that are probably just as beneficial, but these are the ones my co-worker suggested we try. I honestly think any exercise with a friend would improve depression symptoms, and it will have other health benefits as well if it’s done on a consistent basis.
One of the best reasons to have a workout partner, besides the social aspect, is that you now have someone to hold you accountable for working out, and you also don't want to let someone else down by not showing up to exercise.
A recent study featured in a New York Times blog suggests that exercise could be used instead of a second medication to help improve depression. Another article in Time magazine online points to exercise potentially as the “best drug for depression” as well. For people who are physically able to exercise, there is certainly no harm, since exercise is free and has other health benefits besides lifting mood.
Having more friends and being social has been linked to lower levels of depression in some studies as well. For example, one study in a 2010 ScienceDaily article found that “compared with friendless children, those who had friends were less likely to report depressed feelings.”
Have you tried working out with a friend? Does it make a difference for you?
Reynolds, Gretchen. Prescribing Exercise to Treat Depression. Prescribing Exercise to Treat Depression – NYTimes.com. Web. Oct. 25, 2011. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/31/prescribing-exercise-to-treat-depression
Blue, Laura. Is Exercise the Best Drug for Depression?