Exercise for the Treatment of Depression and Anxiety

Department of Family Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29406, USA.
The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine (Impact Factor: 0.89). 01/2011; 41(1):15-28. DOI: 10.2190/PM.41.1.c
Source: PubMed


Depression and anxiety are the most common psychiatric conditions seen in the general medical setting, affecting millions of individuals in the United States. The treatments for depression and anxiety are multiple and have varying degrees of effectiveness. Physical activity has been shown to be associated with decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety. Physical activity has been consistently shown to be associated with improved physical health, life satisfaction, cognitive functioning, and psychological well-being. Conversely, physical inactivity appears to be associated with the development of psychological disorders. Specific studies support the use of exercise as a treatment for depression. Exercise compares favorably to antidepressant medications as a first-line treatment for mild to moderate depression and has also been shown to improve depressive symptoms when used as an adjunct to medications. While not as extensively studied, exercise has been shown to be an effective and cost-efficient treatment alternative for a variety of anxiety disorders. While effective, exercise has not been shown to reduce anxiety to the level achieved by psychopharmaceuticals.

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    • "Smokers may be disinclined to engage in exercise during a quit attempt as smoking withdrawal can increase anxiety and depression symptoms (Leventhal, Ameringer, Osborn, Zvolensky, & Langdon, 2013), which may reduce a smoker's motivation to engage in health-enhancing behaviors, such as exercise. Of course, PA may assist here, too, as certain forms of PA are useful in counteracting anxiety and depression (Carek, Laibstain, & Carek, 2011). Thus, promoting PA as a replacement behavior may have multiple physical and mental health benefits and may further underscore its value and viability as an intervention strategy. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: Considerable research has shown adverse neurobiological effects of chronic alcohol use, including long-term and potentially permanent changes in the structure and function of the brain; however, much less is known about the neurobiological consequences of chronic smoking, as it has largely been ignored until recently. In this article, we present a conceptual model proposing the effects of smoking on neurocognition and the role that physical activity may play in this relationship as well as its role in smoking cessation. Methods: Pertinent published peer-reviewed articles deposited in PubMed delineating the pathways in the proposed model were reviewed. Results: The proposed model, which is supported by emerging research, demonstrates a bidirectional relationship between smoking and executive functioning. In support of our conceptual model, physical activity may moderate this relationship and indirectly influence smoking behavior through physical activity-induced changes in executive functioning. Conclusions: Our model may have implications for aiding smoking cessation efforts through the promotion of physical activity as a mechanism for preventing smoking-induced deficits in neurocognition and executive function.
    Research quarterly for exercise and sport 09/2015; DOI:10.1080/02701367.2015.1074152 · 1.57 Impact Factor
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    • "Previous research on the exercise stereotype phenomenon (e.g., Lindwall & Ginis, 2008; Martin, Sinden, & Fleming, 2000; Martin Ginis & Leary, 2006) showed that targets described as exercising were evaluated more favorably on several personality traits. Exercise is a subset of physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and purposeful (Carek et al., 2011). Based on the research on the exercise stereotype phenomenon, Greenlees and his colleagues (Greenlees, Thelwell, Hall, & Manley, 2011; Greenlees, Webb, Hall, & Manley, 2007) examined whether information about an older person's exercise habits influences perceptions individuals have of older adults. "
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    DESCRIPTION: Abstract Background/Study Context: Based on the stereotype content model and the behaviors from intergroup affect and stereotypes map (Cuddy et al., 2008; Advances in experimental social psychology [Vol. 40, pp. 61–149], New York: Academic Press), we examined whether being physically active may challenge the traditional stereotypes related to older adults. Methods: We compared how 94 participants (Mage = 24.48 years, SD = 7.15 years) judged one of three target groups (older adults in general, physically active older adults, and socially active older adults), with regard to perceived status and competition, warmth and competence judgments, emotional and behavioral reactions. Results: Results showed that being physically active was associated with higher status and competence. Physically active older adults were specifically viewed as an admired group eliciting both active (helping) and passive facilitation (associating) tendencies. Conclusion: Beyond the well-known health perspective related to the regular participation of older adults in physical activity, the present results open a social optimistic perspective, in which being physically active seems a promising way to challenge the widespread and resistant stereotype content of older people commonly perpetuated.
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    • "Socioeconomic status, stressful life events, social support, and physical exercise are many facets of the immediate environment that can affect well-being and in turn lead to depression and anxiety. There is much evidence to support the benefits of physical exercise [11] [15] [57], and social support [10] [30] [54] on mild to moderate depression in humans. Environmental enrichment (EE) has been used as a way to incorporate both physical and social stimuli in animal models. "
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    ABSTRACT: While the efficacy of pharmacological interventions to treat depression has been well-studied in animal models, much less work has been done to shed light on how changes in the immediate environment can impact behaviour. Furthermore, most studies have focused on male rodents despite the prevalence of mood disorders in women. In this study, 36 Wistar Kyoto (validated animal model of depression) and 36 Wistar (control) female rats were used to examine the effects of environmental manipulation on depressive- and anxiety-like behaviours. Animals were assigned to one of three groups: standard (3 rats/cage), enriched (6 rats/cage plus physical enrichment), and isolation (1 rat/cage) housing. The elevated plus maze (EPM) and forced swim test (FST) were conducted prior to, and four weeks after environmental assignment to measure anxiety-like and depressive-like behaviours, respectively. Sucrose preference assessed anhedonia both before and after environmental assignment. Weight was measured every week to monitor weight-gain over time. Post-environment sucrose preference was significantly increased in animals in enriched housing as compared to those in isolated housing in both strains. While there were significant differences between strains in measures of open arm duration in the EPM and immobility in the FST, there appeared to be no differences between environmental groups. The results of this study highlight the importance of environmental factors in the expression of anhedonia. Enrichment appears to reduce anhedonia while isolation increases anhedonia. These effects should be studied further to assess whether longer periods of social and physical enrichment alleviate other symptoms of depression. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Behavioural brain research 07/2015; 293. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2015.07.035 · 3.03 Impact Factor
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