I don’t know how long it takes time for depression to take root — that is, for someone feeling fine to feeling depressed. A quick web search didn’t show anything and I’m sure it differs from person to person.
I imagine it rarely happens overnight. The reason I thought about it was a conversation with a friend about sidchas and my twice-daily burpee-based calisthenics. As he put it, motion creates emotion. As I experience it, getting the blood flowing and physically exhausting yourself through healthy exercise creates upbeat and resilient emotion.
It’s been almost ten years since longer than about 12 hours passed without my getting my heart rate up, actually winded. I’ve felt miserable and depressed at various times in my life, and it feels like it’s taken far longer than 12 hours to take root.
The habit has taken root so deeply, the feeling of skipping a day doesn’t register. If I’m tired, late, fatigued, full, drunk, whatever, I think, “Oh man, my burpees are going to be hard this time,” and then do them, as I have thousands of times before.
Many might see cause and effect as a lack of depression enabling me to exercise. I’ve felt depressed. People sometimes tell me I don’t understand depression, but I don’t know why they would think to know me so well.
I don’t know many people who have exercised twice daily for a decade. My experience tells me getting the heart rate up prevents the depression.
I keep reading that medicines aren’t more effective than exercise and that exercise is effective. The main side effects I experience are increased muscle strength, increased ability to handle the rest of life, and decreased tolerance for unhealthy food. In over a decade I’ve spent a couple hundred dollars on kettle bells and saved many times more in the simpler lifestyle leading me to buy less stuff.
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