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Exercise Found to be an Effective Tool for Managing Mental Health Conditions

Mental health has become one of the greatest blights of our time, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimating that one in eight people worldwide suffer from a mental illness.[0] The poor mental health of the population is estimated to cost the global economy approximately $2.5 trillion each year, with this figure projected to rise to $6 trillion by 2030.[1]

In an attempt to address this issue, researchers from the University of South Australia conducted a comprehensive review, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, of 97 reviews, 1,039 trials, and 128,119 participants.[2] The review found that physical activity significantly reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, with higher intensity exercises having “greater improvements for depression and anxiety.”

The review also revealed that people diagnosed with specific primary conditions — such as depression, HIV, and kidney disease — benefited the most from regular exercise.[2] Women who were pregnant or had recently given birth experienced noteworthy alleviation in their depressive symptoms when they exercised regularly.[3]

Researchers also noted that it doesn’t take much for exercise to make a positive change on mental health.[4] Even small changes for a short period of time can produce beneficial effects.[5]

These findings echo the World Health Organisation and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s report, which found that members of the European Union are far too sedentary, or do not respect the 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week recommended by the WHO.[2]

The review emphasises the need for physical activity to be prioritised in managing the increasing cases of mental health conditions.[0] It is also a reminder that exercise could constitute a new therapeutic approach to managing depression, stress, and anxiety.

0. “Exercise is more effective than medication for Mental Health: Study” BOL News, 25 Feb. 2023,

1. “Study Shows Exercise Is a More Effective Solution for Mental Health Management than Medication” Sportskeeda, 25 Feb. 2023,

2. “Is physical exercise more effective than medication in fighting depression?” The Citizen, 25 Feb. 2023,

3. “Evidence Synthesized: Exercise Promotes Mental Health” Psychology Today, 21 Feb. 2023,

4. “Take note: Exercise more effective in treating mental health than psychotherapy” Times Now, 25 Feb. 2023,

5. “Exercise is more effective than medication for mental health: study” New York Post , 24 Feb. 2023,

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