Replace anti-depressants with running

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jogging-streetThe fact that physical exercise has a beneficial effect on moods has been in the news for the past few years.  However, people have always thought that its effectiveness depended on a global modification of one’s lifestyle.

But since April 2001 (thanks to a study printed on the British Journal of Sports Medicine), we know that the anti-depressive action of physical exercise, even in cases of serious depression, is clear and verifiableafter just 10 days.

The parameters of the problem were all but simple:  the researchers from Berlin studied persons who were suffering from a depressive episode lasting more that six months.  During the 10 days of the experiment, the participants were only asked to run every day for 30 minutes in a row on a treadmill (with intervals).

Anti-depressants take effect about 15 minutes after they are ingested. Running starts working even sooner.

The average duration of the episode, which is defined (according to DSM IV) as major depressive episode, was 35 weeks. At the end of the 10-day period, the scores of the Hamilton scale (objective evaluation of the depression) as well as the self-evaluation (subjective) scores were clearly and significantly improved.

The reasons behind the results of this pilot study (Br J Sports Med 2001 Apr;35(2):114-117) can be diverse: one can think of the fact that running (or physical exercise in general) facilitates the production of some neurotransmitters that enhance mood levels, or the fact that the metabolic action of exercise influences cerebral functioning.

It’s good to keep in mind the fact that running is one of the only sports in which you continue to ‘fly’: when you run, your body is forced to spend almost half of the time completely lifted from the ground.

It would seem to be the opposite situation (even on a symbolic level) of that of a depressed person and maybe this helps people suffering from this condition to regain equilibrium.

One thing is certain: this study supports those few but worthy psychiatrists who know how to treat many psychiatric pathologies by combining pharmaceutical therapy, psychotherapy and physical therapy.

Probably with fewer medicines, greater development of autonomy and greater effectiveness.

Recent studies

New studies have given further confirmation of the effectiveness of physical exercise as an antidepressant in whatever way it is performed.

An American study (American Journal of preventive Medicine, 2005, 28:1-8) showed a considerable reduction in symptoms, after 3 months, even in subjects who only performed exercises to improve flexibility.  But the depressed persons who performed more intense activities showed a 50% reduction in their disturbances

According to the study, the effectiveness increases with the intensity of instagram viewer tracker the exercise. More than ever, physical activity represents a more natural and pleasant alternative to medicine.

An alternative without negative side-effects and one that can be associated with other treatments (whether pharmaceutical or psychotherapy).

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