There are several studies that suggest exercise to be an effective strategy to cope with depression.


Exercise has been consistently shown to be associated with improved physical health, life satisfaction, cognitive functioning, and psychological well-being. On the other hand, lack of exercise seems to be associated with development of psychological disorders.

Depression is one of the most common psychiatric conditions worldwide, and it affects one in fifteen adults in every given year!

There are several treatments available for depression, and they vary in degrees of effectiveness. Exercise has been shown to be associated with decreased symptoms of depression.

In fact, according to research, physical activity has shown similar effect to that of  antidepressant medications used as a first-line treatment for mild to moderate depression. Exercise has also been shown to  improve depressive symptoms when used together with medications.

In a study which looked at the difference between groups of exercisers vs non-exercisers showed individuals who performed regular exercise had a lower frequency of depression (28.9%) than non-exercisers (41.8%). Physical exercise was significantly associated with lower depression frequency amongst the studied adult population. (Meaning exercise may also help prevent depression)

Further research, this time, a systematic review has provided evidence that supervised aerobic exercise, undertaken three times weekly at moderate intensity for a minimum of nine weeks is effective in the treatment of depression.

So, are you ready to start exercising?


1 – Carek PJ, Laibstain SE, Carek SM., Exercise for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Int J Psychiatry Med. 2011;41(1):15-28.

2 – Khanzada FJ, Soomro N, Khan SZ., Association of Physical Exercise on Anxiety and Depression Amongst Adults., J Coll Physicians Surg Pak. 2015 Jul;25(7):546-8

3 – Stanton R, Reaburn P. Exercise and the treatment of depression: a review of the exercise program variables., J Sci Med Sport. 2014 Mar;17(2):177-82

4 – American Psychiatric Association

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