It’s well established that exercise is a great way to relieve depressive symptoms, but there might be some forms of exercise that are better than others.
Take bouldering, for example. A recent study showed participating in the sport — which involves climbing rocks without ropes or harnesses — reduced depression symptoms from moderate severity to mild.
The study authors had some theories about why bouldering was so effective.
First, it’s a social activity, and depressed people often struggle with isolation. Second, it leads to immediate feelings of accomplishment, which is good for self esteem. Finally, it requires intense mental focus — it’s difficult to entertain negative or obsessive thoughts when you’re concentrating on not falling.
If you’re looking for a new way to get active, both socially and physically, consider trying bouldering. But there are plenty of other sports that would have similar effect — join a tennis league or hiking group, maybe. Whatever you’re drawn to, activities that combine social interaction and physical exertion are great for mental illness.