There is a connection between mind and body. I’ve posted on this blog about the work that some of have done finding a connection between physical activity and brain development. Scientific American recently had an article about the importance of play, i.e., physical activity, to children.
So it should come as no surprise that there would be a connection between exercise and depression/joy.
Joy is an emotion that tells us things are going right (on the immediate, short-term, here-and-now, perceptual level; we know from the perspective of reason that emotions can be misleading). Pain is an emotion that tells us that things are going wrong. Depression is beyond pain; it tells us things are going wrong, chronically.
We need to take action to survive in this world. Inactivity leads to death. Attaining values requires action, physical work. And for us humans: mental work. It is hard work to survive in this unforgiving, harsh world. (Things seem easy to us now-a-day due to the power of reason.)
So that chronic inactivity is correlated with depression — as these scientists report; I need to look into it more — makes perfect sense. What’s more, it makes sense that chronic inactivity should be a cause of depression (which is the real point of Dr. Ilardi).
in “Evolurionary Fitness as a treatment for depression” (his misspelling, not mine) Art DeVany recently wrote:
This talk by Dr. Stephen Ilardi is remarkable in two ways: 1. it relies on evolutionary psychology to develop six lifestyle changes or therapies one can adopt to relieve depression or prevent it, and 2. it reads like the Evolutionary Fitness (EF) lifestyle I have been recommending (it even begins with the same quote I begin my EF Seminar with) for years. Depression is serious stuff and damages more lives than heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. And it is rising for reasons Dr. Ilardi explains and which I have believed for years. We are living a life far different from the one our genes, minds, and bodies are adapted to. And the distance grows each decade and depression rises with it.
Do have a listen to Stone Age Therapies by Dr. Ilardi. And get yourself and your kids outside.
I particularly enjoyed the part about the lab rat who refuses to run on the treadmill and just sits there as the spinning wheel wears its fur off of its behind.
He does undervalue, in my opinion, the virtues of muscle mass and physiologic capacity (metabolic headroom), though I do think he would include them if he thought depressed individuals were capable of that level of effort. He extolls the value of exercise but does not seem to see the aerobic component of intermittent training. Were it pointed out to him, I feel that he would be even more open to the right kind of strength training the EF way.