Stretching for Depression

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 7:12 AM GMT
    My best friend shot himself and I knew two other guys that did the same. All three guys were basically very energetic, functional people and their friends did not suspect that these individuals were suicidal.

    I have spent the last year kinda experimenting with male menopause (not like I have any choice in the matter) but since these suicides were linked to instances of depression and sleeplessness I have been extra sensitive to what I feel, when and why.

    My conclusion is the that exercise is important in maintaining cheerful moods because of the various hormones that are produced by physical stimulation. However, the dangerous part is that the natural mood enhancers taper off so gradually in men beyond middle age that you don't feel it happening. Once you fall into a danger zone you don't think clearly enuf to recognize your depression or feel like doing anything about it.

    Here are my solutions:

    1. Keep a journal to record your thoughts..and read old entries once in a while...Historically men kept journals.

    2, Monotonous ,routine exercise ends up neutralizing the effects of exercise to a certain degree.

    3. Stretching seems to be more effective in mood elevation than routine exercise. Metaphorically a stretch is exactly what old set-in-their-ways peole need. Make stretching an entire work-out once is a while. Stretch the large muscles..they seem to have the greatest effect

    4. Nature's internal time clock is set to shut you down after age 40 however, there is indeed a key on the back of that clock that you can wind back up. But its seems you need to wind it more often as you age.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 7:25 AM GMT
    Great post. Having turned 51 a few days ago, I think I'll take some of your suggestions under advisement.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your best friend. It must have been hell on so many levels to go through that.

    I dread losing my best friend, who's very overweight though his doctor says he's nonetheless very healthy.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 4:46 PM GMT
    theatrengym saidGreat post. Having turned 51 a few days ago, I think I'll take some of your suggestions under advisement.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your best friend. It must have been hell on so many levels to go through that.

    I dread losing my best friend, who's very overweight though his doctor says he's nonetheless very healthy.


    Well my other friends are overweight but according to their doctors they have borderline high blood pressure, high cholesterol and one is borderline diabetic. All of them are on meds and don't feel like doing anything. None will listen to me about exercise hence I am on here and other sites looking for new active friends.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 5:09 PM GMT
    Hm. Great advice. The journal thing, I do too. Really helps in a way.

    And on #4, indeed. We are actually programmed to die and most people seem to just accept that and let themselves go physically. icon_confused.gif Anyway, I'm not quite there yet. icon_razz.gif

    And so sorry to hear about your best friend.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 5:28 PM GMT
    Don´t let go! We don´t need to be past it at 40 or 50 or 80. Obviously things change, but the total physical disaster which most people seem to accept as normal is not normal.

    Do yoga ;) Major boost to the system, calming and revitalizing. Good on so many levels.

    Sorry about your friend Alpha icon_sad.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 5:42 PM GMT
    (parenthesis: hatha yoga is the generic name used for "pysical yoga". Other sorts, like raja or karma yoga are not about the stretch. There are many, many types of hatha yoga, though classes often just call themselves "hatha" when they are not following one school exclusively)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 5:50 PM GMT
    Awesome thread Alpha! Over the holidays, depression and menopause really set in for me. Gaining 5lbs and not making it to the gym as much made me feel as if I had let myself down. Now that I have gotten back to the gym, eating well and sleeping better, I've broken free from my "mood swing(s)." I know the people in my life are happy to see I'm back to my normal self...if you can call me normal. icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 6:01 PM GMT
    Yoga, cardio, and weights make a man happy icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 6:01 PM GMT
    I would add a #5 to your list.

    #5 Find someone close to you or someone you can trust to confide in. Communication if VERY important when dealing with depression.


    My mother knows me like a book , and she is the only one I can't fool when I am down and depresseed. I tell her everything... or almost everything.

    Find someone: friend, family member, psychologist, social worker, peer, co-worker, etc... to let things out. Moreover, if they are smart, they might alert the proper authorities if they see "red flags"

    For me, I wouldn't be here right now if it weren't for my mom

    With combatting depression or a mental illness I find four things must be done--they are all connected and form a square: Professional Help, Support from friends oand/or Family, Medication, personal urge to get better (doing things like excersise, etc.) some may not need all fours sides of the square (e.g. some may not need medication.) But usually External support, Personal Drive, and profesional help is always needed in moderate cases of depression
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 6:06 PM GMT
    Sorry to hear about your friends Alpha13. I like that you are trying to use your loss in a positive way.

    As a member of the age group you mentioned, I can attest to the validity of your suggestions. I have suffered from bouts of depression, but following your recommendations I have been able to conquer them.

    Another very important factor for me is food. When I am closely monitoring my intake to ensure nutrition is well balanced and able to support my energy needs, i am in my best mental and emotional health state. Also, speaking with others about what is going on in my life, helps me to move on.
  • zakariahzol

    Posts: 2241

    Jan 09, 2009 6:12 PM GMT
    I honestly thought you are talking about the economy slowing down
  • TallGWMvballe...

    Posts: 1925

    Jan 09, 2009 6:29 PM GMT
    Great post!
    Those are very good observations and advice.
    I would like to add that I started stretching when I was in my twenties studying Tang So Do Karate. They taught us a combination of Yoga and other techniques. One of the much older instructors explained why this is so important for life and now I understand what he meant. After suffering greatly from tendonitis and other ailments, I went to a Chiropractor that was also schooled in Chinese medicine and has a degree in Kinethesiology. (the science of motion AKA Sports medicine)
    As an older athlete, he explained all of this to me and suggested ways to lift objects and play volleyball that would prevent more injury.
    Essentially his style confirms what Alpha 13 said !
    Everybody I know has told me and my own life experience (hey, I am 62 so have plenty of that!) has shown me that stretching is absolutely the basis for good mental and physical health and that developing good habits like that early in life will carry you through your later years as well.
    Also vary your routine so that it is not routine!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 6:44 PM GMT
    creyente saidSorry to hear about your friends Alpha13. I like that you are trying to use your loss in a positive way.

    As a member of the age group you mentioned, I can attest to the validity of your suggestions. I have suffered from bouts of depression, but following your recommendations I have been able to conquer them.

    Another very important factor for me is food. When I am closely monitoring my intake to ensure nutrition is well balanced and able to support my energy needs, i am in my best mental and emotional health state. Also, speaking with others about what is going on in my life, helps me to move on.



    I also switched to the cave man diet which maybe i should have mentioned since if was key to slimming down without "dieting" and way more effective. But even though the cave man diet solves high blood pressure, high cholesterol etc. I found the "lift" after stretching was the key factor in depression.

    Also someone mentioned meds for treating depression and I can't disagree enough on that point... they are a slippery downhill path .
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 8:52 PM GMT
    Is the idea that stretching can help reduce depression something you've discovered in your own experience, Alpha, or have you seen studies?

    I know that one study of different therapeutic modalities among tsunami victims a few years back concluded that yoga was more effective than psychotherapy.

    There are numerous studies that conclude that aerobic exercise is more effective than drugs in treatment of mild depression (dysthymia).

    The problem of course is movtivating a depressed person to exercise at all. I've tried combining personal training with talk therapy with several clients and the exercise component usually ends up being viewed as a terrible burden.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 9:44 PM GMT
    Wow! Thanks for the post Alpha13. I've been going through depression and sleeplessness for the past two years and wondering what the heck is going on. I've been resisting meds and hitting the gym harder to no avail - I never would have guessed that stretching would be so important. Thanks again for sharing this!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 10:40 PM GMT
    First of all I am very sorry to hear of your friend's suicide. I am always very sad to hear of another person taking their own life, the emotional pain they must have been going through, the feeling they had that they could not reach out for help.

    Although I have never kept a diary, I admit I am always tracking my mood. I am not suicidal (not since 1986), but I have a family history of depression, I am on drugs that cause insomnia and thus depression, and at this time of year the lack of sunlight bothers me.

    I agree that exercise is very useful in keeping the blues at bay. The endorphins are nature's way of helping us cope with life. I also try and spend some time every day doing something that I enjoy, whether it is reading a book, listening to music, playing sports or socializing with friends.

    Aging and male menopause likely do increase the risk of depression due to the drop in testosterone. Another problem many men face is the feeling that they have not achieved what they wanted to achieve in life. Most men are achievement oriented and that can be a terrible mental burden as one ages. Taking time to think about what is really important to you in life is time well spent. For me it was realizing I needed to spend more time helping others and less time sitting around watching TV.

    There is nothing like realizing that you are closer to the end then the beginning to get you thinking.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 10:43 PM GMT
    YOGA the worlds best exercise
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 10:54 PM GMT
    What a thought provoking post. Very sorry to hear about your friends who have passed. Sorry also to hear of your other friends who won't do anything about their health situations.

    Stretching, Yoga, swimming and weights are all part of what I do (along with skiing right now!) and riding my bike - plus running. All these things help me feel great - most all of the time. Stretching before working out with weights is key for my friends and for me as well.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 09, 2009 11:18 PM GMT
    Alpha13 saidI have spent the last year kinda experimenting with male menopause (not like I have any choice in the matter) but since these suicides were linked to instances of depression and sleeplessness I have been extra sensitive to what I feel, when and why.

    Do you mean "experiencing" not experimenting?
    It's actually called "andropause". Talk to your physician about it, and starting hormone replacement therapy. If your general practitioner doesn’t seem to know much about it, see a specialist (endocrinologist).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 10, 2009 9:53 PM GMT
    ObsceneWish saidIs the idea that stretching can help reduce depression something you've discovered in your own experience, Alpha, or have you seen studies?

    I know that one study of different therapeutic modalities among tsunami victims a few years back concluded that yoga was more effective than psychotherapy.

    There are numerous studies that conclude that aerobic exercise is more effective than drugs in treatment of mild depression (dysthymia).

    The problem of course is movtivating a depressed person to exercise at all. I've tried combining personal training with talk therapy with several clients and the exercise component usually ends up being viewed as a terrible burden.



    This is my own little experiment. Checking out my mood or feelings when doing nothing, doing the old school bench press ,curl. etc workout, doing pilates, cardio, massage, sauna etc. They all have have some effect. It can't be that scientific because diet, weather, sleep, external stress . etc. were not controlled
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 10, 2009 11:24 PM GMT
    Very valuable post. Thanks. My mom, step-father and step-brother killed themselves during my formative years due to depression which invariably led to substance abuse - alcohol and heroin. I remember other family members making character judgements against them while I would be in my grade school library educating myself. I always wished that I could have stopped their self destruction. Once I learned that I couldn't, I made sure that no matter what, I was always there for them.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 11, 2009 3:05 AM GMT
    sixxfive saidVery valuable post. Thanks. My mom, step-father and step-brother killed themselves during my formative years due to depression which invariably led to substance abuse - alcohol and heroin. I remember other family members making character judgements against them while I would be in my grade school library educating myself. I always wished that I could have stopped their self destruction. Once I learned that I couldn't, I made sure that no matter what, I was always there for them.



    I wish I could have been there for my best friend too. He emailed me hours before he shot himself yet no one had a clue. I don't really think he really knew what he was doing either. The proof or this is the underwear he was wearing when he shot himself. I would not have been caught dead in boxers like he was wearing,