Posted by: Tony Carson | 20 September, 2007

Exercise as good as drugs for aiding depression

This seems like a classic case of ‘if no one economically benefits what is the incentive to finding the truth?’

That exercise mitigates depression is a no brainer — ask anyone who regularly exercises. But what is as yet unanswered are the details: what kinds of exercise, in what amounts and how often?

The study cited in this article, Exercise on par with drugs for aiding depression, perhaps curiously, finds that  those involved in group-based exercise therapy do better than those who exercise alone, but both do better than the placebo and as well as the drugs.

It is both depressing and insane that we don’t yet have all the facts on the impact of exercise on depression. If we knew that a brisk half-hour walk will have ‘x’ effect on our depression, we would be far more likely to do it. If we could quantify with some precision the impact of exercise on our over-all mental health we would be more likely to embrace exercise in our lifestyle.

It seems we know a lot more about the effect of exercise on our physical health than we do on our mental health. Combining and synthesizing the value of exercise to both physical and mental health would be a compelling message, perhaps even with enough impact to get us off our collective asses. But, apparently, no one is bothering to do the work.

The multi-billion exercise industry has high-graded a clientele from the slobbing masses without making much of a contribution to the knowledge base of the value of exercise. Here is an opportunity: what does a din or calorie or whatever of energy spent do to our body and our mind?

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Responses

  1. Exercise absolutely helps alleviate the symptoms of mild depression.

    But many depressed people (almost by definition) cannot motivate themselves to exercise. Many people’s health prevents them from getting the kind of exercise that would help depressive symptoms.

    It’s not only “slobbing masses” who won’t “get off their asses”. Many people have physical limitations that have nothing to do with laziness or inertia.

    Anti-depressants are not right for everyone. And it’s true that no one should profit off sickness. But I’ve seen the positive, life-changing – life-saving – effects of these drugs.

    We would never tell someone with diabetes not to take insulin because pharmaceutical companies produce and profit from insulin.

    It’s the same for depression. Severe depression is a crippling disease. It cannot be alleviated by a brisk walk.

  2. […] The readers of Kuro5hin.org wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThe study cited in this article, Exercise on par with drugs for aiding depression, perhaps curiously, finds that those involved in group-based exercise therapy do better than those who exercise alone, but both do better than the placebo … […]

  3. […] Administrator wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThe study cited in this article, Exercise on par with drugs for aiding depression, perhaps curiously, finds that those involved in group-based exercise therapy do better than those who exercise alone, but both do better than the placebo … […]


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