Exercise Lifts Depression

New research suggests that a walk round the block may be more beneficial to your mental health than popping a pill.

Exercise & Depression – A Study

A study just published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine concludes that exercise may be more effective than drugs in treating mild to moderate depression. The report by researchers at Freie University in Berlin found that just thirty minutes of exercise a day significantly improved the moods of patients who had been suffering from depression for nine months.

Results of Exercise on Depression & Mood

The 12 patients were asked to walk on a treadmill and to assess their moods before and after the ten-day exercise programme. Results showed that over half the patients who took part felt less depressed.

‘Physical activity has the same effect as antidepressants,’ explains Dr Fernando Dimeo who led the research. ‘Aerobic exercise stimulates neurotransmitters in our brain to produce serotonin, an endorphin which make us feel good. And exercise, unlike antidepressants, has no negative side effects.’

Exercise Has Instant Effect on Depression

One of the main advantages of using exercise to boost your mood is that the effect is instant. Antidepressants usually take between two and three weeks to kick in, which can be a long time if you’re feeling really blue. And exercise, unlike antidepressants, is also not chemically addictive.

Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine (2002)

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