Exercise and Mental Health


From Christianity Today‘s blog comes this post by Stan Guthrie:

While an apple a day may (or may not) keep the doctor away, a growing body of research indicates that exercise may keep the psychologist away. Alessandra Pilu of the University of Cagliari in Italy and other investigators reported their conclusions in the online journal of Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health.

"The study found that depressed women who started a supervised exercise regimen had significant improvements in their symptoms over the next 8 months. Those who didn’t exercise showed only marginal improvements.

"Before the study, all of the women had tried taking antidepressant medication for at least two months but had failed to improve.

"A number of studies have found that physically active people are less likely than couch potatoes to suffer depression. Some clinical trials have shown regular exercise can help treat the disorder, and perhaps be as effective as antidepressant drugs in some cases.

"The new findings suggest that exercise can even help people whose symptoms have been resistant to medication, according to the study authors."

Since an estimated two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, high rates of mental illness shouldn’t surprise us. Mental illness is not just mental. We are integrated, living souls, and approaches must be holistic, treating mind, body, and spirit.

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