The Health & Fitness blog discusses research on how exercise can combat depression.

Quoting Briley: “exercise is not only cheaper than antidepressants (or the alcohol or illegal drugs many depressed people turn to for relief), its benefits are immediate. The drugs typically take at least two weeks to begin working, and significant relief often doesn’t come for eight weeks.” Briley goes on to caution that exercise is not a panacea.

I have known for years that this was the case. I am almost always in a better mood when I am running and lifting regularly than when I am taking time off. I generally feel better directly after having gone for a run or lifted when I am down in the dumps ahead of time.

Conversely, I tend to get depressed and sometimes go through withdrawal symptoms if I do not work out for a while. Nowhere near as bad as friends of mine have who are trying to quit smoking or other drugs, but they are definately there and recognizable. They tend to happen if I take a few weeks off after a marathon, when I have been training intensely for 2 or 3 months and then go to doing next to nothing. I have found that picking up the weights again about a week after my marathons will prevent that from happening, and it gives me an opportunity to bulk up a little. Well, as much as I ever do, at any rate.