Sarah Kurchak, a personal trainer who has experienced clinical depression, offers the most humane advice for using exercise you're likely to find.
She starts by saying "You don't have to exercise," and then makes a bunch of super-practical recommendations for making it easier to exercise when your brain is being unkind to you.
Break the entire workout experience into the smallest pieces possible.
I get overwhelmed even more easily than usual when I'm depressed, and all but the smallest things seem insurmountable to me. Which is why I started breaking up every part of my workout, including getting ready and cleaning up after, into tiny pieces, getting rid of any potential stumbling blocks along the way. If getting into workout gear felt like too much effort, I worked out in whatever I was already wearing. It wasn't entirely pleasant or comfortable, but neither is crawling through mud as part of an obstacle course race, and that's a socially accepted thing that people do all the time in the name of being fit and tough. If the idea of showering after seemed like too much work on top of everything else, I'd promise myself that I'd could consider my hygiene options again after I was finished. This is potentially gross, but then so are mud races. If a whole workout was intimidating, I'd start with a warm-up and then see how much I felt like I could add to it after that. I usually kept going. But even when I didn't, I'd still done a decent warm-up.
Depression-Busting Exercise Tips For People Too Depressed To Exercise
[Sarah Kurchak/The Establishment]
(via Pipedream Dragon)