Happiness and exercise

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Following last week’s bad news about anti-depressants I wanted to bring you some good news too.

A research study at Duke University found that a 30-minute brisk walk or jog 3 times a week worked as well as antidepressant drugs in beating depression.

OK, so now we know these drugs may be no better than a sugar pill. But wait. There’s more.

Longer lasting

The researchers followed up participants six months after the study ended, and found people in the exercise-only group were much less likely to become depressed again than either the medication-only group or the medication+exercise group.

Proactive recovery

According to the lead researcher, exercise had a big advantage over pills in the study – it gave people an active role in their own recovery:

‘Simply taking a pill is very passive… Patients who exercised may have felt a greater sense of mastery over their condition and gained a greater sense of accomplishment. They may have felt more self-confident and had better self-esteem because they were able to do it themselves, and they may have attributed their improvement to their ability to exercise.’

Walk away (from) the troubles in your life

According to Mayo Clinic, exercise can help depression as well as anxiety sufferers in a numbers of practical ways, including:

  • Confidence and a sense of accomplishment
  • Distraction and a more positive focus
  • Interactions that help prevent isolation
  • Providing a healthy coping strategy

They offer some sound tips for starting and sticking with exercise if you’re anxious or depressed.

So if you’re looking for a mood booster, think about adopting that thrice weekly, 30-minute walk/jog into your life. You stand to gain a bunch of benefits and you might just ditch those doldrums too.

iPod recommendation for your walk/jog:

 

Image: Kandoka

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