Exercise Can Help Fight Depression, Medical Experts say

Exercise is a powerful tool in fighting depression, underscoring its pivotal role in treatment plans, medical experts say.

Depression, which affects one in five Australians and is the leading cause of disability globally, presents a multifaceted challenge to mental and physical well-being.

Researchers at the University of Queensland have found that incorporating exercise into treatment regimens could be a game-changer in mitigating its debilitating effects, according to a research paper published on Wednesday.

Exercise can help fight depression according to experts at the University of Queensland. Credit: supplied.
Exercise can help fight depression according to experts at the University of Queensland. Credit: supplied.

Dr. Michael Noetel, leading the research, highlights the significance of exercise alongside psychotherapy and medication in combating depression.

“We found activities such as walking, jogging, yoga and strength training were extremely beneficial for treating depression,” Dr Noetel said.“Strength training was found to be an especially effective exercise for younger women, whereas older men received the most benefit from yoga.“We know people often respond well to medication and psychotherapy for depression, but many are resistant to treatment. We found exercise should be considered alongside traditional interventions as a core treatment for depression.”

The study’s findings underscore the transformative potential of exercise in bolstering mental health, transcending the confines of traditional treatment approaches.

“If exercise was a pill, it would fly off the shelves,” Dr. Noetel said, accentuating the profound impact of physical activity on mood regulation and cognitive function.

Moreover, the research underscores the importance of structured exercise programs tailored to individual needs, advocating for personalised prescriptions to optimise therapeutic outcomes.

Despite the unequivocal benefits of exercise, the study underscores the need for enhanced support mechanisms to facilitate adherence to physical activity regimens.

Dr. Noetel emphasised the importance of personalised interventions that accommodate individual circumstances, thereby maximising the effectiveness of treatment plans.

“Prescriptions for exercise for those with depression also need to be personalised and take into consideration the individual’s circumstances, to ensure it’s the most effective plan for them.”

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