Can sports help you treat depression?
For years, it is known that even one workout can lift your spirits. Several times, physical activity has been shown to be linked to improved physical health, cognitive functioning, life satisfaction, as well as psychological well-being. Furthermore, there is evidence that exercise is an effective and cost-effective treatment alternative for many anxiety disorders. Also, food can have a significant impact on our mood as shown in this blog post.
Researchers from Duke University Medical Center split people with major depression and over 50 years old into 2 groups: One group took antidepressant drugs and the other group had to participate in an aerobic exercise program for 4 months. 4 months later, both groups had almost the same level of depression – quite none. Exercising may be considered as an alternative to antidepressants for the treatment of depression in older persons. The main difference is: Antidepressant drugs may be faster in having an initial therapeutic response than exercise. Generally, the efficacy of exercising seems comparable to receiving antidepressant medication. Both tend to be better than a placebo.
Is it really the workout or do we just have to get into social interaction?
Many critics may say that it just cut down on depression because the participants were forced to exercise in a group of people. The effect exercising has on people suffering from the major depressive disorder may be linked to the fact that patients were forced to participate in social interaction. But, further studies have shown that even working out alone at home, has the same effect as going to the gym, etc. Exercise can have a moderate antidepressant effect, and at best, a significantly large effect on reductions in depression symptoms. Thus, sports could be classified as a very cost-effective, powerful and useful intervention. Sadly, antidepressant drugs are prescribed much more often than physical activity.
You really do not have to finish a half marathon to get the positive effects of physical activity: Going to work by bike or even having a walk outside which is a bit faster than you’re used to is fine as well! Better than doing nothing 🙂
What about you? Do you love having a good workout or do you prefer staying at home? What is your favorite activity?
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Here you can find all sources used for this blog post
Blumenthal, J. A./Babyak, M. A./Doraiswamy, P. M./Watkins, L./Hoffman, B. M./Barbour, K. A./Herman, S./Craighead, W. E./Brosse, A. L./Waugh, R./Hinderliter, A./Sherwood, A. 2007: Exercise and pharmacotherapy in the treatment of major depressive disorder, in: Psychosomatic Medicine, Vol. 69, 2007, No. 7, pp. 587-596.
Blumenthal, J. A./Babyak, M. A./Moore, K. A./Craighead, W. E./Herman, S./Khatri, P./Waugh, R./Napolitano, M. A./Forman, L. M./Appelbaum, M./Doraiswamy, P. M./Krishnan, K. R. 1999: Effects of exercise training on older patients with major depression, in: Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 159, 1999, No. 19, pp. 2349-2356.
Carek, P. J./Laibstain, S. E./Carek, S. M. 2011: Exercise for the treatment of depression and anxiety, in: International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, Vol. 41, 2011, No. 1, pp. 15-28.