There have been many studies and proposed programs suggesting that the incorporation of exercise into one’s regular routing can go a long way towards both warding off depression and treating it in those already exhibiting symptoms. The positive effects of exercise on mental health are well-documented, but the precise ways in which physical activity can aid in the fight against depression may not always be exactly clear. It is for this reason that a study conducted at the University of Nottingham in the UK has been especially well-received. The study worked with a selection of women indicated for feelings of depression, and chose a certain number to participate in regular exercise treatment routines, while the study group was introduced to a supportive regimen of counseling and exercise.
The study was in part established based on the notion that standard gym exercise routines often fail to produce positive results for those with depression because of the relative isolation of the activity. To counteract this isolation, the study group was given extensive motivational counseling sessions before each period of physical activity, and participants took part in low-impact exercise on treadmills in communicative, supportive groups. Emotional support was on-hand throughout the exercising segments to allow for extra encouragement and help as needed.
Reporting on the experience after taking part in the counseling and exercise routines, participants noted that the personal attention and encouragement to return and continue the treatment played an important role in their success –and those participants who worked with counseling and group exercise were successful indeed, enjoying significant improvements in mood, physical health, and overall well-being. The study may help make depression-related exercise plans better tailored for those seeking new and effective treatments.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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