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Exercise is great for treating depression and stress

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Workout to beat depression, anxiety or stress

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First published: Mar 15, 2023

Summary: Exercise is better than meds or therapy

Short interventions of high intensity exercise is more effective than medications or psychotherapy for treating anxiety, depression or stress.

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Exercise to beat depression, anxiety and stress

Treating Mental Health Issues with Exercise

Singh B, Olds T, Curtis R, et al. (2023) conducted a systematic review of scientific literature covering 1,039 trials with 128,119 participants, both healthy and suffering from mental and health disorders. Their goal was to find if physical activity had any effect on the symptoms of depression, anxiety and psychological stress in adult populations.

They found out that yes, exercise is a good therapy for those mental conditions, and equal or even better than medications or regular psycotherapy (1).

  • The reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety "are comparable to or slightly greater than the effects observed for psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy."
  • Exercise had "medium effects on depression, anxiety and physchological distress compared with usual care."
  • The greatest benefits were noticed in subjects with depression, kidney disease, pregnant and postpartum women, HIV patients and healthy individuals.
  • "Higher intensity physical activity was associated with greater improvements in symptoms."
  • Shorter interventions had better results than extended regimes.
  • All types of exercise were beneficial: aerobic, resistance, mixed-mode exercise and yoga.
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>All set, getting ready to exercise

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References and Further Reading

(1) Singh B, Olds T, Curtis R, et al. (2023). Effectiveness of physical activity interventions for improving depression, anxiety and distress: an overview of systematic reviews. British Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 16 February 2023. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2022-106195

About this Article

Exercise is great for treating depression and stress, A. Whittall

©2019, 15 Mar. 2023. Update scheduled for 10 Sept. 2026.

Tags: anxiety, stress, depression, health news, exercise

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