PJ's Fitness Blog

A blog about a fitter you. Come find out what is on the cutting edge of fitness science and be a part of the ongoing conversation.

Is Exercise Better than Prozac?


Great question, huh? I bet you know my answer already. Of course it’s better! Science has proven it over and over. Science has also shown that Prozac is about as good as a placebo, so it’s not hard to beat that over-used drug for elevating your mood. Even so, exercise is definitely the king for getting you happy, and curing depression.

The reason exercise works so well is because it is better at changing your brain chemicals than anything else you can do. Ever wondered why? God created us to move and to keep moving all day. Our modern society however, requires most of us to sit down all day instead. This unnatural lifestyle screws up the chemical balance in our brains and causes a downward spiral of depression, junk food cravings, more sedentary choices, obesity, etc., etc., until we are dead (10-20 years earlier than we have been).

A recent article in Time points out that exercise is indeed the best drug out there. High intensity exercise like the X Gym workout or the X Gym DVD is of course best; and activities like stair climbing offer the most intense “high” with the least time required, but for those who are obese or just want to get moving again, a simple walk can be the first step in a process that will change your mood and entire life.

They told me to write this

Many regular X Gym members have eventually fired their “shrinks” because they just don’t need them anymore. When they are exercising regularly, they find it easier to eat better too.  The X Gym member who suggested I write this post said, “I knew there was a reason I was feeling great lately…despite the nasty June weather!” I have even had a client tell me that the X Gym saved her marriage because it broke her mood patterns and helped her see her husband in a different, better light!

Better mood means better choices

The reason your mood is so important, is because your moods are tied directly into your decision-making. To prove how important mood is to good choices, answer these questions:

  • Is it easier to choose healthy foods when you are less stressed or when you are at the end of your rope?
  • Do you crave junk food more after a workout or when you are feeling lazy and bored?

Right now results and long-term benefits

Exercise causes an immediate response that helps you make healthier choices, but it also changes your general mood over time, helping turn this healthy choice pattern into a lifestyle.

Ok, I’m convinced. Now what?

The key is to get started NOW and commit to consistency. No time? Try walking 5 minutes a day to start. If you don’t have that kind of time, you shouldn’t even be reading this post (you should be looking into time management skills first!) Once you do start, you will find that 5 minutes increases your productivity by at least 10 minutes from the brain benefits you experience, so it really saved you 5 minutes. Then the time factor doesn’t seem like an issue anymore. In fact, you soon learn that NOT exercising COSTS you so much time, you can’t afford your sedentary and depressed lifestyle anymore! Then the upward spiral begins.

It’s your choice. Spiral up or spiral down. There is no hovering.