A recent study has discovered that exercise is as effective at combating depression as anti-depressant tablets.
The study, conducted by the American Medical Institute, tested 100 subjects, all of whom were clinically diagnosed as having ’severe depressive illness’. 25 of them were given a course of anti-depressant tablets, 25 were given an exercise routine to do in a group environment three times a week, 25 were given an exercise routine to do three times a week on their own at home, and a control group of 25 were given neither anti-depressant tablets, nor an exercise schedule.
After 16 weeks of testing, results found that the ‘tablets’ group and the two exercise groups were all improved to such a degree that they were all no longer classed as being clinically depressed; the only significant statistical difference came between the two exercise groups – it was found that the group who exercised in a group setting were slightly more improved than those who exercised on their own.
The evidence of this study strongly suggests that exercise is as effective in combating depression as anti-depressant tablets.
You certainly don’t have to be clinically depressed to experience the psychological benefits of regular exercise. In another study which tested the psychological effects of exercise on a group of women who were ‘not depressed,’ the women who managed to stick to the prescribed exercise regime of 3 sessions a week, reported feeling ‘happier’ than they had been when they were not exercising. They commented specifically on things like having more energy, more confidence, a more positive body-image, and all reported that they felt less inclined to resort to ‘comfort-eating’ triggered by feelings of unhappiness.
Having a regular exercise routine is not only a great way to improve your mood; it provides various other beneficial effects to your health like safeguarding you against heart disease, reducing blood pressure and enhancing your self confidence.