Curing Depression with Exercise

Excerpt of an article By Amanda Loundin | Washington Post

At the age of 16, Heather Troupe received a diagnosis of chronic severe depression and a prescription for an antidepressant. Eight years and 20 pounds later, she was sleeping poorly, felt a lot of anxiety and had lost her therapist because of insurance complications. Looking to “fix herself,” as Troupe, of Knoxville, Tenn., put it, she began using an elliptical machine every day at the gym, hoping to sweat away what was ailing her.

Today, Troupe, 33, has been medication-free for nine years and credits her daily exercise habits with helping her achieve mental health. “Exercise has been the biggest piece of the puzzle for me,” says Troupe, who is now a fitness instructor. “It’s a place for me to funnel all that extra energy — energy that would otherwise turn into sadness or anxiety.”


  1. Hi Scott,
    Interesting piece about exercise as a treatment for depression. My doc told me she has patients who use exercise for that purpose because it raises the endorphin levels. However she told me that exercise sometimes becomes an addiction to some
    for that reason.

    1. Bernice,

      I’m not sure there is any downside to being addicted to exercise or a healthy lifestyle unless the addiction is so severe that it affects other aspects of life or it interferes with normal functioning. In most cases, the addiction to exercise can be inclusive. For example, let’s go for a walk after dinner or let’s go to an exercise class together.

      The word “addiction” is not always a bad word. Addiction to exercise is much different than addiction to drugs, alcohol, smoking, and gambling. Exercise, to a certain degree, is good for you. However, the other things I mentioned are destructive and can ruin your life and the lives of others.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your comment.

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