There’s no feel-good factor – only exercise bike boredom
New research reveals that combining exercise with conventional treatments for depression doesn't improve recovery – hopefully that'll put an end to people banging on about exercise's 'feel-good' factor.
In an NHS-funded study, some patients were given help to boost their activity levels in addition to receiving therapy or anti-depression medicine: after a year, all 361 patients had fewer signs of depression, but there was no difference between the two groups.
As someone who has recently embraced exercise and has cycled at least 25 miles a day – sometimes 40, sometimes 60 – for the past 12 weeks, I can report that there is no joy in it whatsoever. I have been waiting for the endorphin hit which everyone talks about to kick in, but to date, the experience remains painful, miserable and face-achingly dull. I have never suffered from depression, luckily, but the daily task of getting on a bike, albeit a stationary one without risk of getting caught in a downpour, is in itself utterly depressing. My family hate the bike, I hate the bike, the bike's saddle definitely hates me.
On the plus side, I have lost three dress sizes and can now crack walnuts with my calves. On the minus side is all the exercise. If you've got any spare endorphins available, do send them my way.