Yoga, Jogging, and Strength Training Can Alleviate Depression, Study Shows

In Education

A recent study suggests that engaging in activities like jogging, yoga, and strength training, as well as simple walks, can notably ease depression. The research indicates that both low-intensity and vigorous exercises effectively alleviate depressive symptoms. The level of benefit to mental health corresponds to the intensity of the physical activity performed.

Exercise beneficial in managing depression

Dr. Michael Noetel of the University of Queensland and his research team emphasize the efficacy of exercise in alleviating depression, whether used alone or alongside traditional therapies such as psychotherapy and medication. While these results are promising, the researchers stress the importance of additional high-quality studies due to limited confidence in many findings. They recommend integrating physical activities into depression treatment plans.

As per the World Health Organization, depression impacts over 300 million people worldwide. Although exercise is often suggested alongside therapy and medication, there’s disparity in treatment recommendations regarding the most effective exercise regimen for alleviating depression.

The study analyzed 218 trials with 14,000 participants to compare exercise to standard depression treatments. Results showed significant depression reduction with various exercises like dance, walking, jogging, yoga, strength training, mixed aerobic exercises, and tai chi.

Integrating exercise with prescription drugs or psychotherapy improves treatment outcomes. Gender and age-specific effects were observed; strength training was more effective for women, while yoga or qigong benefited men. Yoga was more effective for older adults, while younger individuals benefited more from strength training. While light activities like walking and yoga were beneficial, vigorous exercises like running and interval training were more advantageous.

Exercise can be an alternative or supplement to conventional treatments

Exercise benefits all demographics, regardless of health conditions or depression severity. Both individual and group exercises yield positive outcomes, potentially due to social interaction, mindfulness, and nature engagement. The study advocates for integrating exercise into depression treatment guidelines.

University of Malaga’s Juan Ángel Bellón highlights the recommendation of exercise, psychotherapy, or antidepressants as standalone treatments for mild to moderate depression. While beneficial, regular exercise might pose challenges for those with depression. Professor Bellón calls for adequate resources to ensure accessibility to individualized exercise programs.

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