Studies Confirm Physical Exercise as Best Mental Health Treatment: Physical exercise has long been recognized as one of the best treatment options for a wide range of mental health issues. A recent study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine by 13 Australian scientists, has further reinforced this belief.
The analysis carried out by the researchers examined and synthesized a vast amount of research data on the positive and negative impacts of physical activity on depression, anxiety, and psychological distress in adults. The study indicates that exercise is the most effective treatment choice, surpassing pharmaceuticals and talk therapy.
Benefits of Physical Exercise
The research also showed that exercise is the most beneficial treatment option for depression, reducing depressive symptoms by 42% to 60%. According to the study, exercise has shown to be 150% more effective than both Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and pharmaceuticals in treating depression.
Different Types of Exercise
The research concludes that any form of physical exercise can enhance mental health. The authors reviewed various types and schedules of exercise and found that they all worked equally well. The study did, however, reveal that short, intense bursts of exercise worked best for most people. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) showed better results on most participants. For older people, on the other hand, a simple walk of 20-40 minutes was more effective.
Exercise has shown benefits for Specific Groups
The research revealed that besides the treatment of depression, exercise is particularly beneficial for specific population groups. Pregnant and postpartum women, people living with HIV, and those with kidney disease may significantly benefit from regular exercise. However, even people who are seemingly fit and healthy have shown improvement in their mental health through regular exercise.
While regular exercise alone may not be a foolproof treatment to cure all mental health issues, it has been identified as an effective means to enhance mental wellbeing. The authors of the study recommend exercise as the preferred option for the majority of people with mild-to-moderate mental health issues. The research study advocates that physical exercise should be a frontline treatment, augmented with drugs and counseling where necessary.
Thus, in times when mental health issues are on the rise, it is necessary that we recognize physical exercise as a proven, yet straightforward method to improve our physical and mental health. Engage in physical activity, whether it’s a quick jog or a daily walk, and give your brain the much-needed stress relief it deserves!