Johns Hopkins: Depression|Anxiety on exercise|mood


I have run across several such reports, which indicate that exercise is good for managing mood and anxiety.  I recently read another article that claimed that a 1/2 hour of aerobic exercise per day can have a similar effect as an antidepressant medication (I wish I could remember where I read that).

This article proposes several mechanisms for how exercise helps.  I believe they left out an important one with regards to anxiety.  Exercise can be cathartic and serve as a positive channel for excess tension and restlessness.

However, I do see one flaw in this article.  The study it cites appears to be a correlation study.  They administered questionnaires and saw that there is a correlation between exercise and improved mood and reduced anxiety.  They appear to make the classic mistake of reading causality into correlation.  I did not read the original research article, so I could be wrong, but this is a common mistake.  It is possible, for example, that it is easier to exercise when your mood is good (rather than vice versa).  Personally, I believe that the causation flows in both directions in this scenario.  Of course it is easier to exercise if you feel great… but you can also help yourself feel good by exercising.

Just 20 minutes a week of physical activity can make a difference in your mood. No one seems able to agree on how much exercise, or what type, is best for mental health. But a Scottish study, reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, has found that just 20 minutes of any physical activity, including housework, in a week is enough to boost mental health.

Almost 20,000 men and women participated in the study, which involved taking a quiz for the Scottish Health Survey about their state of mind and how much weekly physical activity they engaged in. Using a standard scale to measure distress levels, over 3,000 participants were classified as suffering from distress and anxiety.

After controlling for factors such as age, gender, and long-term health conditions, the findings revealed that… (click to read more Johns Hopkins: Depression|Anxiety on exercise|mood.)

Anda Jines MS LCPC offers mental health counseling services in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, in Tinley Park, IL (60477);  near Orland Park, Oak Forest, Orland Hills, Palos Heights, Mokena, and Frankfort.  Click here for more about Anda Jines MS LCPC.

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