Best Thing For Depression


I listened to an episode of SHR recently where you discussed your history with depression. First, I want to say I really admire you for talking about something that is usually kept in the closet. A lot of us suffer from it in silence, so it was nice to hear someone put it out there.

My question is, what’s the single best thing someone can do for it, and do you find any approach more effective for women vs. men?


The single best thing anyone can do for depression (male or female) is exercise. Your other bedrocks in battling this disease are getting a solid night’s sleep and of course, a good diet. I’m going to put a finer point on those things now, along with some warnings about what you need to look out for.

In looking for the cure, I first look for the cause. It’s clear brain chemistry, environment and certain personal triggers all play a role. Since I’m speaking to a broad population here I’ll try to keep it generalized: You need to get a handle on all 3. The real question is how to go about that. Here it is, from the ground up.

First, getting a good night’s sleep is the fundamental bedrock to getting better. The Russians have a saying, “The rest of your days depend on the rest of your nights…”. Pretty clear what they were getting at, and it’s spot on.

Your allies here are a sleeping environment used ONLY for sleep, a decent mattress and an environment free of wi-fi, cell phones and other electronic devices. If necessary use melatonin, valerian, kava-kava or other sleep aids. It’s that important.

Physical Activity

Once this is in place, we get to physical activity. You absolutely need to stimulate blood flow in order to feel better. But when you’re depressed, the last thing you feel like is going to the gym. Doesn’t matter, I don’t want you to go to the gym. I keep my weight sled precisely 10 paces from my front door, dragging it in the street in front of my house.

You can’t tell me you can’t take 10 steps to feeling better. That sled’s loaded with a 45lb plate, because it takes a few trips to start feeling better. A few more trips, and my mood starts to skyrocket. I don’t drag for long, maybe 6 trips of 120 feet forward and backward. Sometimes I add weight, sometimes I don’t.

By the time I’m done though, I’ve flooded my body and brain with endorphins. It might take 5-10 minutes, but the benefits last for hours.

I do that in the morning, followed by a short mid afternoon and evening session. If you don’t have the luxury, a brisk walk at lunch delivers the same favor. Before you know it, you’ve chocked up 30 minutes of feel good fuel and now have something to look forward to morning, noon and night.


As for diet, keeping blood sugar levels steady is the key. That can mean IF, low carb or low glycemic diets. However you want to slice it, the tie that binds insofar as feeling and performing better is just that: Keeping blood sugar and insulin rock solid.

You can seek counseling and medication for more serious issues, but they’re at best 25% of the solution to feeling better. Think about that. If you rely on medical professionals, feel good talk and prescription drugs I’ve news for you – you’re leaving at LEAST 75% of feeling good at the table.

Can’t drag a sled? Walk. Can’t walk?? Do as many bodyweight squats, pushups or pull-ups in 10 minutes as possible. Can’t do bodyweight squats? Rubbish. If you can use a toilet seat, you can squat.

“Exercise more” is easy to say, tougher to do. Too many people think that means a trip to the gym – I think that’s BS. I present here the single best thing to combat depression there is – exercise. And you need only stand up from that lazy boy and start squatting, to get started.

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Coach Rob Regish

Rob Regish is an internationally recognized name in the field of health and fitness. He's been a weekly contributor to for almost a decade, answering listener questions from around the world.

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