What are the mental health benefits of exercise?

Exercise and Depression

Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as
effectively as antidepressant medication—but without the side effects, of course.

As one example, a recent study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%.

In addition to relieving depression symptoms, research also shows that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent you from relapsing. Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons.

Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and wellbeing.

It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good.

Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.

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