Researchers from the University of South Australia found that exercise is 1.5 times more effective than counseling or leading medications in relieving depression. The study, which is the most comprehensive to date, included 97 articles, 1039 trials, and 128,119 participants, and claims that physical activity is beneficial in relieving depression, anxiety, and distress symptoms.
Researchers at the University of South Australia have called for fitness to become a majorstay strategy for battling depression. According to a recent study, physical activity is 1.5 times more effective than counseling or the leading medications.
The review, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, was the most extensive to date, covering 97 reviews, 1039 trials, and 128,119 participants. It demonstrates that physical activity is beneficial in reducing depression, anxiety, and stress.
Exercise programs that were 12 weeks or shorter were most effective in relieving mental health ailments, highlighting the speed at which physical activity can make a difference.
People with depression, pregnant and postpartum women, healthy individuals, and people diagnosed with HIV or kidney disease had the highest success rates.
According to the World Health Organization, one out of every eight people worldwide (970 million people) has a mental illness. Poor mental health costs the world economy about $2.5 trillion annually, which is expected to rise to $6 trillion by 2030.
According to Dr. Ben Singh, a leading UniSA researcher, physical activity must be prioritized in order to reduce the rise in mental health conditions.
"Physical activity is known to help improve mental health, but it has yet to be widely adopted as a first-choice treatment, according to Dr. Singh.
"Our investigation demonstrates that physical activity interventions are capable of significantly reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in all clinical populations, with some groups showing even greater signs of improvement.
“Higher intensity training resulted in greater depression and anxiety, while longer durations produced lesser effects compared to short and mid-duration bursts.
"We also found that all forms of physical activity and exercise were beneficial, including aerobic activities such as walking, resistance training, Pilates, and yoga.
"It's important to point out that exercise does not require much effort to transform your mental health."
Prof Carol Maher, a senior researcher at UniSA, claims that this study is the first to examine the effects of all types of physical activity on depression, anxiety, and psychological distress in all adult populations.
"Examinating these studies as a whole is a powerful way for clinicians to quickly comprehend the evidence that physical activity aids in the management of mental health disorders."
"We hope that this review will emphasize the necessity for physical activity, including structured exercise interventions, as a primary approach to managing depression and anxiety."
Ben Singh, Timothy Olds, Rosa Virgara, Edward O’Connor, Ty Ferguson, Emily Eglitis, Catherine EM Simpson, and Carol Maher, BJSports 2022-106195, DOI: 10.136/bjsports-2022-106195.