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Study finds that exercise is more effective than medication for improving mental health

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Exercise More Effective Than Medication for Mental Health, Study Finds

Are you feeling down or anxious? Instead of reaching for medication, consider lacing up your sneakers and going for a run. According to a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, regular exercise may be more effective than medication for treating mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of South Australia, analyzed 97 reviews with over 1,000 participants and 128,000 individuals. The findings were clear – exercise improved symptoms of depression and anxiety in adult patients. Lead researcher Dr. Ben Singh emphasized the importance of physical activity in improving mental health, stating that it is often overlooked as a first-choice treatment.

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health disorder in their lifetime, the need for effective treatments is more crucial than ever. While traditional remedies like counseling and medication are commonly prescribed, the study highlights the benefits of incorporating exercise into mental health management.

Professor Carol Maher, one of the study’s researchers, noted that the research is the first of its kind to evaluate the impact of physical activity on psychological disorders in adults. The results suggest that even small changes in exercise habits can have significant benefits for mental health.

The study found that higher-intensity exercises were most effective for improving symptoms of depression and anxiety, but all types of physical activity, including walking, resistance training, pilates, and yoga, were beneficial. The research also identified specific groups that could benefit from increased physical activity, such as pregnant women, individuals with kidney disease, and even those who are generally healthy.

In addition to improving mental health, exercise has been linked to a range of other health benefits, including reducing the risk of cancer, preventing cognitive decline, and increasing life longevity. It can also help ward off cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and some cancers, while strengthening bones and muscles.

So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, consider going for a run or trying a new workout routine. The benefits for your mental and physical health are well worth the effort. Exercise truly is medicine for the mind and body.

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