Can exercise help with depression?
STUDENT ID: 8401122
This report aims to determine the efficacy and benefits of exercise in the management of depression, which is classified by the World Health Organisation as a mood disorder. In order to place exercise therapy into context, conventional methods for treating clinical depression are discussed. A personal meta-analysis is then undertaken, summarising the findings of studies that have explored the clinical significance of physical exercise as an intervention in treating depression. The advantages and disadvantages of such an intervention are described, and …show more content…
The mood enhancing properties of exercise are propagated in psychosocial rather that psychophysiological terms. As Scully expresses, “while a positive correlation between exercise and self-esteem, self-efficacy, and cognitive functioning may exist – it functions together with a negative correlation with anxiety, stress, and depression.”16 Rejeski argues that “it is misguided to theorise that explanations for psychosocial outcomes will ultimately be reduced to some physiological system or neurochemical activity”.17 Adopting this perspective, if the mental benefits reaped from exercise are merely heuristic and occur in the absence of changes in one’s physiological parameters, then those with depression, and thus a disturbance of brain neurochemistry, are apparently exempt from adopting the ‘healthy body, healthy mind’ mantra.
However, recent literature in the paradigm of scientific research suggests that exercise can in fact bear a direct influence on psychological functioning. Psycho-physiologists have investigated the influence of catecholamines, body temperature and endorphins and a considerable number of studies have concluded that exercise exerts neurochemical effects that bear a strong resemblance to antidepressant medications.18
In light of these conflicting viewpoints, I have conducted my own meta-analysis, in order to converge