Good Ole Exercise for DepressionTime and time again we hear about the importance of regular exercise for our bodies. But not only does such exercise help our bodies — it does wonders for our minds as well. The latest finding comes from two researchers who found that simple exercise can be helpful with some people’s depressive mood:

[The researchers] based their finding on an analysis of dozens of population-based studies, clinical studies and meta-analytic reviews related to exercise and mental health, including the authors’ meta-analysis of exercise interventions for mental health and studies on reducing anxiety sensitivity with exercise.

The researchers’ review demonstrated the efficacy of exercise programs in reducing depression and anxiety.

And this is good news, since not everyone can afford psychotherapy or medications, and most people who have depression never seek out treatment for it anyways. If they do, it’s most often through their primary care physician, and they are most often just prescribed an antidepressant and then call it a day.

One Comment to
Good Ole Exercise for Depression

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  1. i have heard many times that exercise is good for depression. i have exercised before and gotten great benefits but recently cannot: the idea of actually doing any kind of exercise (other than walking the dog) sounds like too big a task. some days i can harldy get out of bed and you want me to go to the gym? that’s just too much effort. something i sometimes have little of.
    i am an avid reader of this website.

  2. Pam, The author never once mentioned going to the gym. John actually stressed free activities and activities you can do in your own home. How about getting a fun exercise video – so you don’t have to leave the house?

  3. Thought some people might be interested in this blog article on The Journey of a Walking/Running Therapist. http://www.mindfulness.com/2009/07/06/the-journey-of-a-walkingrunning-therapist/ My mentor back in the mid-70′s was Thaddeus Kostrubala MD, the author of the Joy of Running. In 1984 Michael Sachs and Gary Buffone edited: Running as Therapy: An Integrated Approach. It’s a great collection of articles on psychotherapy and exercise (in this situation: running).

  4. Exercise is literally the best kept secret to treat various mental health issues. Check out John Ratey’s great book “Spark”. He is probably the leading authority on this subject.

  5. I agree with “Pammy Pam”.

    I have observed that people with mild to moderate depression can overcome their illness with exercise. What about those with severe depression and social anxiety? Go to a crowded gym? Go jogging outside amoungst the traffic and other joggers? People with severe depression don’t see the point of exercising. Why would they want to extend their crappy lives? So exercising is probably the last thing on their mind.

    I spent a few months jogging on the treadmill and it did nothing. I would have a confidence boost immediately after, but it only lasted 10 minutes or so. Then reality took over and smacked me back into submission.

  6. Wonderful blog! I was just inspired to write a blog about depression and exercise after reading an article about it in the NY Times. A physician actually prescribes it for patients who suffer from depression. I was on my way to becoming a Psychiatrist until I was diagnosed with manic-depression. My therapist has found a huge difference in me since I started working out. I am completely addicted to the endorphins and serotonin that is released and I just read about a change that it makes in the amygdala as well. Thank you for a great blog which will spread this concept of exercise as a natural antidepressant.

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