Psychologists studying how exercise relieves anxiety and depression suggest that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout. Some studies show that exercise can work quickly to elevate depressed mood in many people. Although the effects may be temporary, they demonstrate that a brisk walk or other simple activity can deliver several hours of relief, similar to taking an aspirin for a headache.
Science has also provided some evidence that physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. Exercise may improve mental health by helping the brain cope better with stress. In one study, researchers found that those who got regular vigorous exercise were 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years.
This ADAA article is based on the book, Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being. This is just the long line in research showing physical activity (however you want to define it) is good for anxiety & depression. I like that this article lacks the hyperbolic evangelism of some reports on the issue.
It admits exercise isn’t going to work for everybody, & it won’t work to the same extent for everyone who does benefit. Other studies I’ve read over the years have found it works better for mild-moderate depression. I personally doubt it would be useful for severe depression because when you’re at the bottom of a black pit of despair, just trying to climb out is more than enough activity. They probably weren’t even included in the studies because none of them would show up. >_<
The article also include a list of tips for staying fit & for exercising in the cold.
I stole the top image from a post on Dr. Michael Omidi’s blog concerning a Princeton study on the mental health benefits of exercise done on mice.
I’m cleaning out my inbox & bookmarks of things I’ve been meaning to blog about, so you’ll be seeing some daily posts for a bit, at least until I run out of steam. I normally try to avoid daily posting because I spend a lot of time putting my posts together, even if some of them don’t look like it, & I can become long winded so I don’t want to overwhelm people with my yakety yak.