Exercise is an effective treatment for depression and can help in the treatment of other mental disorders. Individual experiments and general findings consistently report the power of exercise in the treatment of clinical depression. Other studies show that exercise can be important in the treatment of various types of anxiety, problems with self-esteem, weight loss and addiction treatment. It has also shown the effectiveness of exercise in maintaining cognitive or mental health and function, and treatment of serious mental illness.
Major discoveries about the connection between depression and exercise
We all know that exercise is good for our body. Among other facts, exercise reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and other related factors, it decreases the risk of various cancers, lowers blood pressure, improves metabolism, reduces problems associated with diabetes, helps maintain bone density and improves the immune system. But did you know that exercise is also good for your brain? The most common treatments for depression we all know are psychotherapy or medication. Psychologists have found that exercise is a third successful alternative.
Along with this numerous facts we reached the following conclusions:
- Exercise is useful antidepressant in the moment while doing the exercise but it is also an antidepressant for an extended period.
- Although exercise reduced depression among all peoples who participated in the study, it was most effective in reducing depression to those who are most physically and / or mentally ill at the beginning of the exercise program.
- Exercise significantly reduces depression in all age groups (from 11-55 years), but among the older people are shown the greatest results for reducing the depression.
- The exercise is equally effective antidepressant tool for both sexes, male and female.
- Walking and jogging were the most common forms of exercise that have been explored, but all modes of exercise anaerobic and aerobic were effective in reducing depression at least to some degree.
- The bigger the length of the program is for exercise and the larger the exercises sessions are, the greater is the decrease in depression with exercise.
- The most powerful antidepressant effect occurs through a combination of exercises and psychotherapy.
How can exercise compare with medication to treat depression? A research done back in 1999 answered this question from numerous systematic studies of patients diagnosed with disorder through the use of two treatment, exercise and medication. They compared the proportion of patients and their response to aerobic exercise, psychotropic drugs or a combination of both.
After four and a half months of treatment, patients receiving either of these treatments were significantly less depressed. About two-thirds were no longer depressed. In the following examination, these same patients were contacted six months after the original examination. They found that patients in the group that used only exercise were more likely to be partially or fully recovered unlike those in the group who only used drugs or combination of drugs and exercise.