Exercise for Depression

Do you know somebody who suffers from depression? Chances are they are taking medications for it. And for good reason. Drugs like Zoloft, Paxil and Prozac are quite helpful when used appropriately (although the debate for what is “appropriate” is very extensive, with some opponents saying they are only effective in severe depression, but not mild and moderate).

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Original source: here.

            But have you heard of this new, groundbreaking treatment for depression? It’s called exercise! But for some reason, it\’s just not flying off the shelves…

One study in the journal of Psychosomatic Medicine did a head-to-head trial of what’s more effective for the treatment of depression: exercise or the standard antidepressive drug “sertraline” (AKA Zoloft). The results: exercise and Zoloft had virtually identical effectiveness.

But wait a minute. Yes, Zoloft, can help with depressive symptoms, but take a look at this list of potential side effects, from the site drugs.com:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Breast tenderness
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Decreased sexual desire or ability
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Fever
  • Increased sweating
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Muscle spasm or jerking in extremities
  • Sudden loss of consciousness

By comparison, take a look at the side effects for exercise:

  • Increased muscle strength
  • Greater energy
  • Improved bone density
  • Improved immune system function
  • Increased cardiovascular endurance
  • Elevation in mood
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Improved hormonal profile
  • Improved self-image

Another study in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice concluded that “research has shown exercise to be efficacious as both a stand–alone and an augmentation therapy.” As a result, it’s now being recommended as a treatment by the American Psychiatric Association.

But that’s not all. You see, in studies, researchers try to isolate one variable. In this case, it’s exercise. But what if we combined exercise with proper nutrition, what would be the combined effects? Although there are no studies looking at it (that I am aware of), we can theorize that if exercise itself is on par with the best medications out there (and has a far better risk/reward profile), if we throw in good, personalized nutrition into the mix, we would have even better results.

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