It is true that exercise can help the brain fight depression. In fact, researchers have known that exercise can help fight depression for a long time. However, they have not been able to understand how exactly exercise works to fight depression in the brain. This is because science does not fully understand depression. Read on to learn more about how physical exercise can protect the body from depression. It can also help stop the accumulation of stress in the body. Additionally, learn how a rehab facility like Lucida Treatment Center can help you cope with mental illness. How Exercise And Depression Connect Researchers were able to identify a connection between a protein known as PGC-1a1 and biochemical changes that protect the brain from stress-related damage. PGC-1a1 multiplies in your skeletal muscle when you exercise and helps to regulate the development of new muscle. For a period of five weeks, researchers subjected groups of mice to moderately stressful conditions. These conditions included loud noises, flashing lights, and the disruption of circadian rhythms. Scientists genetically modified one group of mice to have high levels of PGC-1a1 in their skeletal muscles. A group of control mice had unmodified levels of the protein. By the end of the five weeks under these stressful conditions, the group of mice with normal levels of the PGC-1a1 protein in their skeletal tissue showed symptoms of depression. In contrast, the mice with modified levels did not display any symptoms of depression. Exercise Prevents Stress Damage by Purging Harmful Substances A substance called kynurenine, which is formed during times of stress, is present in high levels in patients who suffer from mental illness. However, when kynurenine transforms into kynurenic acid, it is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier to affect a person\u2019s mental health. This transformation takes place thanks to an enzyme known as KAT. Additionally, researchers found that the mice that they modified to have high levels of the PGC-1a1 protein also showed high levels of KAT. When they directly injected all of the mice with kynurenine, the genetically modified mice did not show any symptoms of depression. However, the normal mice did show symptoms. New Possibilities for Depression Treatment Professionals almost always recommend exercise in addition to therapy and other treatment methods for patients with depression. However, many people with depression lack of energy and motivation due to their illness. This can make it extremely difficult for patients to exercise, especially if they are not already regular exercisers. New findings suggest a possible alternative approach to pharmacological treatment for depression. Current drugs that treat depression target chemistry directly in the brain. However, this research suggests that it may be possible to treat and protect against depression by targeting skeletal muscle rather than the brain. This could give patients the mental health-related benefits offered by vigorous and regular exercise without the exercise itself. How Lucida Treatment Center Helps Depression With Exercise There are many other health benefits of exercise. Ideally, patients would reach a stage of their recovery during which they are able to commence or resume regular exercise. But in the meantime, these results of research offer another useful tool to help treat the estimated 350 million people worldwide who suffer from depression. Researchers also found high kynurenine levels in people with other forms of mental illness. This is why our treatment center at Lucida Treatment offers a fitness therapy program to help you get the treatment you need to fight depression. Our staff and professionals know that a well-rounded approach to mental illness can help you overcome it. Contact us at for more information about our services.