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How can physical activity help a veteran with depression?

Depression can lower your body’s immunity and put you at risk for physical illness. To prevent episodes of mild depression and maintain a healthy mental outlook, regular physical activity is also recommended. Therapeutic recreation in particular is geared toward maintaining health and wellness, and to help you avoid developing disabling conditions. Many health care facilities include recreational therapy as part of their standard referral process for other prescribed therapies and services. Exercise can reduce stress and help you relax, while also increasing your overall energy level. Depression may make you feel lethargic and unmotivated to exercise. But once you begin, you will notice mood improvement and a host of other benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety, improvement in diabetes and arthritis symptoms, and a distraction from the negative thoughts that come with depression. Getting into better physical shape through exercise will also raise your self-confidence and give you more opportunities for positive social interaction.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.