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Why Exercise Should Be the First Choice to Treat Mild Depression

A large-scale study by the University of South Africa shows that mild to moderate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and psychological distress can be relieved with the help of physical activity. According to the investigation, exercise is 1.5 times more effective than counseling and top medications.

The researchers analyzed all the eligible studies published prior to 2022 from 12 electronic databases. Overall, they analyzed 97 reviews that included 1039 trials with more than 128,119 participants in total.

Lead researcher Ben Singh from UniSA, a clinical exercise physiologist, comments on the results of the study: “We also found that all types of physical activity and exercise were beneficial, including aerobic exercises such as walking, resistance training, Pilates, and yoga. Higher intensity exercise had greater improvements for depression and anxiety, while longer durations had smaller effects when compared to short and mid-duration bursts.”

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