Depression can make fitness after 40 more difficult. But not impossible.

Depression and hopelessness are rampant today, and suicides are all over the news.

These feelings can be worse in midlife. The state of our health can contribute to feelings of depression at midlife. Ensuring that we are eating healthy foods and moving enough can help decrease the likelihood that we will experience depression. My book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating may be just what you need to improve your mental and emotional outlook on your life.

One study shows the rate at which middle aged men and women, ages 40-59 experience depression is 9.8 percent. This is higher than adolescents.

Typically if one experiences depression during midlife, it will not have been the first time.

If you've been following any of my blogs, you will know that I am fairly transparent with my life and how I manage it as it relates to my health and fitness. I do not talk about topics that I don't have firsthand experience with, and depression is one of them.

When can depression happen?

Typically bouts surface in response to life circumstances, but sometimes there seems to be no identifiable cause. If you feel sad and depressed, see your doctor! Those who seek treatment may be prescribed an antidepressant. These are very appropriate but they don't have to be permanent. You may be able to be weaned off of them under medical supervision after a certain amount of time. But did you know you have other options?

Did you know that there is an alternative to medication?

Mild to moderate depression and hopelessness symptoms can be eased through physical movement!

Choosing an exercise program that you think that you will enjoy doing (because likely right now you don't ENJOY anything), will do two things, it will release feel good chemicals into your body and it can take our mind off of your worries. Planning exercise, or even just walking, 4-5 days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes is a good start! Aim to get 10 K steps a day and monitor you moods improvement.

Choosing good healthy foods, the kinds that are fresh and unprocessed will help you.

Spending time with other people, volunteering and finding a purpose to get up and get dressed everyday will help.

If you are thinking of taking your life, please don't. It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Call a suicide hotline and speak to someone!

I have seen some very sad people change into joyful ones when they make a plan to regain their health and they stick to it.