Being depressed can leave you lacking in energy, which might put you off being physically active.1,2

But, it is really important to stay physically active if you’re feeling depressed. There is a large amount of scientific evidence that demonstrates physical activity can help to lift your mood.3,4

I’ve started climbing, even though I don’t like heights, because I like to push myself and now I can do it in a safe environment with friends. I’m part of a club and meet new people or can climb on my own if I need to. I try not to be hard on myself if I fail and make sure I celebrate when I climb well.~ Thomas*

Physical activity has been associated with improved physical health, life satisfaction, mental functioning, and psychological well-being. It can also decrease the symptoms of depression.

Walking to the bus stop may be enough for some days. On others I walk to the one further away. It is enough, I am enough.
~ Alma*

Being depressed can make you feel tired and might put you off physical activity1,2
Physical activity can be associated with improved physical health and psychological well-being3
Physical activity can decrease the symptoms of depression3

*Names changed.


  1. NHS. Clinical depression. Available from:
    Accessed on: December 9, 2019.
  2. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5 ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press 2013.
  3. Mikkelsen K et al. Exercise and mental health. Maturitas. 2017;106:48-56.
  4. Carek PJ, Laibstain SE, Carek SM. Exercise for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Int J Psychiatry Med. 2011;41(1):15-28.