Exercise seems to be a "cure" for certain kinds of depression, and so along with a dose of fish oil, you may be able to throw away your pills.
And while some people "work up an appetite" when they exercise, so they eat MORE (which kills some of the reason for exercising in the first place), other people eat LESS, and these are the people scientists are studying.
Exercise may change your DESIRE to eat by altering the way parts of your brain respond to the sight of food. Researchers tracked the activity in the parts of the brain known as the "food-reward system,"--the regions that control whether we like and want food. The more cells that fire off in those parts of the brain, the more we want to eat.
In the April 17th edition of the New York Times, Gretchen Reynolds quotes researcher Todd A. Hagobian as saying that "responsiveness to food cues was significantly reduced after exercise. That reduction was spread across many different regions of the brain."
If you're depressed and your meds aren't working, exercise can be as effective as a second medication--especially if you do it outdoors. And if you hate to exercise, it may be your genes that are the problem: Colorado may be the thinnest state because of the GENES of the people who live there. You may think your lack of resolve to get off the couch to exercise is because you're lazy, but researchers have discovered it may be because you are missing key genes.
The researchers made their unexpected finding while working with healthy, specially-bred mice, some of which had two genes in muscle essential for exercise removed. The genes control an enzyme that is switched on when you exercise. Researchers Gregory Steinberg says, "Mice love to run. While the normal mice could run for miles, those without the genes in their muscle could only run the same distance as down the hall and back. It was remarkable. The mice looked identical to their brothers or sisters but within seconds we knew which ones had the genes and which one didn't."
The study, Steinberg thinks, has a message for couch potatoes. He says, "This makes it so much harder for people to start exercising."
But this doesn't mean you should let your genes boss you around-- In her famous diet book "What I Learned From the Fat Years," Anne Strieber (who developed this diet using scientific principles and lost 100 pounds) tells us how to eat, but she also emphasizes exercise, in her chapter titled "The Tyranny of the Body." You don't have join a gym or be athletic to be fit--she explains that WALKING is the best way to exercise--and it not only exercises the body, it's good for the brain. Best of all, this download is now $2 off regular price!
Researchers have found that both moderate and intense levels of daily exercise can work as well as administering a second antidepressant drug, which is often used when initial medications don't move patients to remission. The type of exercise needed, however, depends on the characteristics of patients, including their gender. In fact, adding a regular exercise routine, combined with targeted medications, actually can relieve fully the symptoms of major depressive disorder.
Meanwhile, Researchers who have worked with teenagers at risk for serious mental illness for the past decade are now studying the effectiveness of Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil) for treating psychiatric symptoms. They think it will help adolescents and young adults (ages 12 to 25) who are at elevated risk for severe psychiatric disorders function better in school, work and other social environments.
Omega 3 fatty acids are critical for normal brain function and they have been increasingly studied as potential treatments for medical and psychiatric disorders. Cognitive researcher Barbara Cornblatt says, "Of the 300 adolescents who have participated in (this program), most have shown substantial improvement. If this study continues to show success, Omega 3 could offer a natural alternative to the range of medications and therapies now offered to (patients)." She hopes that fish oil can "intervene and prevent illness before symptoms get worse."
And psychiatrist Madhukar Trivedi says, "Many people would rather use exercise than add another drug, particularly as exercise has a proven positive effect on a person's overall health and well-being."