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Exercise ..... more effective than counselling or medication...really?

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Cheap, effective and with few side effects, exercise plays a crucial role in managing mental health....

According to recent estimates, nearly half of all Australians will experience a mental health disorder at some point in their lifetime, at great cost to both the individual and society.

Exercise ..... more effective than counselling or medication

While traditional treatments such as therapy and medication can be effective, new research highlights the importance of exercise in managing these conditions.

Reduced cost, fewer side effects and offering bonus gains for physical health, such as healthier body weight, improved cardiovascular and bone health, and cognitive benefits.

Exercise is cheaper than medication, with fewer side effects.

This study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, reviewed 97 review papers, involved 1,039 trials and 128,119 participants. The findings? Doing 150 minutes each week of various types of physical activity (such as brisk walking, lifting weights and yoga) significantly reduces depression, anxiety and psychological distress, compared to usual care (such as medications).


Regular exercise can lead to improved sleep, which plays a critical role in depression and anxiety. It also has psychological benefits, such as increased self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment, all of which are beneficial for people struggling with depression.

Why it works

Exercise is believed to impact mental health through multiple pathways, and with short and long-term effects.

In the short term endorphins and dopamine help boost mood and buffer stress. Long term, the release of neurotransmitters in response to exercise promotes changes in the brain that help with mood and cognition, decrease inflammation and boost immune function, which all influence our brain function and mental health.


If you under the care of a health care practitioner or taking prescription medications always have a conversation with that practitioner BEFORE choosing to cease these.

This article was reproduced from the Guardian.

The greater detail can be obtained by clicking on any of the links below:



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