Physical Activity Found to be More Effective than Meds for Depression
As reported by Earth.com, a large study conducted by researchers at the University of South Australia and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that physical activity is 1.5 times more effective than counseling or medications for treating depression. By examining more than 1,000 trials involving a total of nearly 130,000 participants, the experts discovered that physical activity is highly beneficial for improving symptoms of anxiety, depression, and distress, and that exercise interventions which were 12 weeks or shorter were the most effective in alleviating mental illness symptoms. The largest benefits were observed in people with depression, pregnant and postpartum women, people diagnosed with HIV or kidney disease, and healthy individuals. “These findings highlight not only the effectiveness of such interventions,” Earth.com stated, “but also the speed at which physical activity can make significant mental changes.” The World Health Organization (WHO) says about one in eight people worldwide currently suffer from a mental disorder. Although mental issues are mostly treated by medication or psychological/psychiatric counseling, physical activity is known to improve mental health. Despite the evidence, it has not been widely adopted as a first-choice treatment. One researcher noted that all types of physical activity and exercise were beneficial, including aerobic exercise such as walking, resistance training, Pilates, and Yoga. The research also showed that it doesn’t take much for exercise to make a positive change to mental health.