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Defeating Depression’s Funk-to-Fat Cycle

For many depressed people, exercise is excruciating. But it may be what they need to recover.

As many depression sufferers can attest, feeling down is likely to lead to slowing down. It’s not uncommon for once-active people to become couch potatoes when their mood turns blue.

The fatigue and low energy so often associated with depression are two of the biggest obstacles to exercising. And the idea of letting people see their out-of-shape body at the gym can be overwhelming for people who are struggling with feelings of worthlessness.

Because of these concerns and more, depression can significantly alter a person’s health and activity level—for the worse. But the mood disorder and poor physical fitness don’t have to go hand in hand; recent studies conducted at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., indicate that for some people, exercise may ease depression as well as medication does.

Working Exercise Into Your Life

  • Set tiny fitness goals.
  • Focus on success.
  • Take steps to avoid isolating yourself.
  • Do one new, nondiet-related activity each week.
  • Draw up a contract for fitness goals each month.
Defeating Depression’s Funk-to-Fat Cycle

Sherrie Mcgregor, Ph.D.

APA Reference
Mcgregor, S. (2020). Defeating Depression’s Funk-to-Fat Cycle. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 Jan 2020 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 14 Jan 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.