Jennifer Carter, a sports physiologist in Ohio, states that she often recommends exercise for her psychotherapy clients who are suffering through depression or anxiety. In addition, a psychologist at Duke University, James Blumenthal, had sedentary adults with major depression to do supervised or home exercise, anti-depressant therapy, or a placebo pill and his results led to the conclusion that exercise was generally comparable to antidepressants for patients with major depressive disorders (CITE) He followed up with these same patients a year later and the patients who had continued exercising had remained with lower levels of depression. Depression and exercise are certainly interconnected in some way.
Also, exercise can significantly alleviate anxiety according to Jasper Smits and Otto, co- authors of the book, “Exercise for Mood and Anxiety”. Smits and Otto compared the bodily sensations of anxiety to those experienced during exercise-such as increased heart rate and perspiration-and infer that they are similar. They believe that periodic workouts will help people become less prone to panicking when faced with difficult situations and tested this claim on 60 volunteers prone to anxiety. After a two-week exercise program, the subjects showed a significant reduction in their anxiety sensitivity. Regarding this theory, Smit states, “Exercise in many ways is like exposure treatment. People learn to associate the symptoms with safety instead of danger.” Physical activity can be used as a tool to diminish anxiety that people feel during high-pressure situations. According to the following research, it is evident that exercise does have an affect on mental health, but often it is argued how MUCH it can impact one’s mood in the long term and what sort of factors interfere with the results of these studies.
A study in 1986 at the University of Arizona undermines the claims that exercise directly results in an improved physiological mood state. Jean Williams and Deborah Getty studied effects of exercise on beta-endorphins that have been previously linked to physical activity. They examined the impact of 10 weeks of aerobic exercise, non-aerobic exercise (placebo control), and no exercise (control group) on the mood states and fitness of depressed and non-depressed college students. Getty and Williams hypothesized that improved moods and physical fitness would only increase in the aerobic exercise group and that as depression decreases it would be accompanied by an increase is beta-endorphins. Measurements for the depressed subjects were taken before and after the ten week exercise/non-exercise program. Examining their results, the scientists discovered that only a part of their hypothesis was supported. Physical fitness did in fact only improve for the aerobic exercise groups, but the claim that only this group would experience a