The Best Anti-Depressant Ever? Exercise!

By Anne Driscoll, Tonic

It’s been long-known that physical activity boosts serotonin levels and makes people feel better, but exercise is now being called the “magic drug” in combating depression and anxiety, according to an AOL health story.

Scientists at Southern Methodist University and Boston University believe that, when it comes to easing anxiety and addressing depression, working out is even more powerful than previously believed. The researchers reviewed dozens of clinical studies on the relationship between exercise and mental health and found that patients report less anxiety, depression and stress after working out.

“Exercise appears to affect, like an antidepressant, particular neurotransmitter systems in the brain, and it helps patients with depression re-establish positive behaviors. For patients with anxiety disorders, exercise reduces their fears of fear and related bodily sensations such as a racing heart and rapid breathing,” said study co-author Michael Otto, psychology professor at BU. Otto and co-author Jasper Smits, director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at SMU, presented their findings at the Anxiety Disorders Association of America’s annual conference in March.

Smits says as little as 25 minutes of physical activity can mean the difference between a bad day and a good one. Apparently, a little (exercise) goes a long way to a good mood.

Related:
3 Steps to Better Exercise
Ending Mood Disorders Without Drugs
5 Best Snacks to Boost Your Mood
8 Drug-Free Natural Highs

160 comments

Anne Woods
Anne Woods3 years ago

yep exercise and chocolate :)

Anna Undebeck
Anna Undebeck3 years ago

Exercise is very good, for all of us. (unless you have some special condition) And as I speak from experience I KNOW it helped me with my depression, and I even got less anxiety and panicattacks- but unfortunately only for a while, then it was "like my body and mind got used to the exercise". BUT thats me, I still feel a bit better after I have been working out! And its a great way to "clear your head" aswell. Me personaly has to do my exercise in the morning, even if its hitting to the gym or going for a run, I HAVE to do it early, not only cause I get even more trouble sleeping at night if I do it during the noon, its like I dont have any energy or enough motivation left at all after a certain time. Dont know why its like that for me,but its been like that as long as I can remember.. Anyway- enough about me,dont want to bore anyone to depression ;) No but seriously, EXERSCISE IS IMPORTANT, and even if you REALLY struggling with it- and still you feel no different in any way- dont give up, you get result after a while and DAAAAMN it feels good ;) Thanks again for the article!

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se3 years ago

ty

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra3 years ago

Thank you Diana, for Sharing this!

Birgit W.
Birgit W.3 years ago

I am sure it helps. Thank you

Care member
Care member3 years ago

Thank you Samantha

Val M.
Val M.3 years ago

Thamks

Fiona T.
Fi T.3 years ago

We do need to help ourselves out with the self-generated hormone

Barbara D.
Past Member 3 years ago

Exercise is a great and wonderful thing with untold benefits! I love to exercise. Everybody should exercise. But let's stop confusing clinical depression with feeling blue.

Ajla C.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thanks