Exercise Can Beat Meds in Countering Anxiety and Depression

(p. A15) . . . a new paper evaluating studies of the impact of exercise on mood shows that physical activity, of any kind, is just as effective as antidepressants at reducing feelings of anxiety and depression—and sometimes more effective.

Dr. Ben Singh, a research fellow at the University of South Australia, was the lead author of the study, which appeared in February in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. He and 12 other scientists combed the research literature for all randomly controlled studies published before 2022 that involved adding exercise to a person’s “usual care,” to see how physical activity might relieve psychological distress.

. . .

“Any type of movement is effective: a bike ride, yoga or Pilates” said Dr. Singh. He mentioned that resistance training (like my Zoom workout) was best for reducing symptoms of depression, while yoga and Pilates were best at tamping down anxiety. “The higher the intensity, the better,” Dr. Singh said. “But just a walk around your neighborhood is effective, too.”

For the full commentary, see:

Susan Pinker. “MIND AND MATTER: Exercise Can Be the Best Antidepressant.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, March 25, 2023): A15.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date March 23, 2023, and has the same title as the print version.)

The “new paper” mentioned above is:

Singh, Ben, Timothy Olds, Rachel Curtis, Dorothea Dumuid, Rosa Virgara, Amanda Watson, Kimberley Szeto, Edward Connor, Ty Ferguson, Emily Eglitis, Aaron Miatke, Catherine E. M. Simpson, and Carol Maher. “Effectiveness of Physical Activity Interventions for Improving Depression, Anxiety and Distress: An Overview of Systematic Reviews.” British Journal of Sports Medicine (Feb. 16, 2023), DOI:10.1136/bjsports-2022-106195.

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