Exercise is as good or better than SSRI Medication for Common Depression!

Research has once again confirmed that persons suffering from most common forms of depression are helped as much by regular exercise as they are by  SRRi anti-depressants.  

In fact, people who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer relapse after 10 months (a return of the depression), compared with people who take the pills.

Aerobic activities such as fast walking, running, swimming, or rope-jumping are typically used in these studies and found effective.

There are also benefits to strength training – as long as the person keeps up a good pace during their workout and their pulse rate gets elevated for a sustained period of time.

“Above and beyond the standard benefits of exercise in healthy living and general well-being, there is strong evidence demonstrating the ability of exercise to in fact treat mental illness and have significant benefits on a neurotrophic, neurobiologic basis,” Douglas Noordsy, MD, told delegates attending Psych Congress 2012: US Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress.

“The patients who were independently exercising on their own after the treatment period had half the odds for meeting the depression criteria 6 months later compared to patients who didn’t exercise after the 4-month study,” said Dr. Noordsy.”

The research for other conditions is not as strong, but still indicates that exercise is helpful for:

  • many symptoms related to anxiety
  • some symptoms common among persons with bipolar disorder
  • secondary symptoms often associated with schizophrenia, such as anxiety, obsessions, and depression
  • the prevention or delay of Alzheimer’s

The full article was published online at Medscape, under the title: Exercise Gains Momentum as Psychiatric Treatment, by Nancy A. Melville  Nov 16, 2012.

The research is also on my website,  here.