Study shows exercise is even more effective than counselling or medication for depression

A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reviewed more than 1,000 research trials examining the effects of physical activity on depression, anxiety and psychological distress. It showed exercise is an effective way to treat mental health issues – and can be around 1.5 times more effective than either medication or cognitive behaviour therapy.

It was found that doing 150 minutes each week of various types of physical activity (such as brisk walking, lifting weights and yoga) significantly reduces depression compared to usual care (such as medications).

It was also found that higher intensity exercise is more beneficial while exercising for 6 to 12 weeks has the greatest benefits, rather than shorter periods.

Furthermore, exercise has additional benefits compared to medications, such as reduced cost, fewer side effects and offering bonus gains for physical health, such as healthier body weight, improved cardiovascular and bone health, and cognitive benefits.

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