Study Shows Exercise Beats the Blues Better Than Pills
While those who exercise on the daily will tell you it makes them feel better mentally, many scientific studies have found a correlation — and now a new study from the University of South Australia all but proves it. Their study, which encompassed 97 study reviews and more than 128,119 participants, proved physical activity was 1.5 times more effective than counseling or medication in improving symptoms of depression, anxiety and distress.
The findings were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The researchers used a 12-week course of physical activity for the subjects, noting “significant” improvements in their mental health. Lead researcher Dr. Ben Singh said the study shows exercise “must” be prioritized for those suffering from those conditions. “Physical activity is known to help improve mental health. Yet despite the evidence, it has not been widely adopted as a first-choice treatment,” he explains.
He continues, “Our review shows that physical activity interventions can significantly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in all clinical populations, with some groups showing even greater signs of improvement.” While higher intensity exercise was found to yield better results for those suffering from depression and anxiety, the scientists determined “all types” of physical activity helped, from weight lifting to yoga and walking.