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Exercise to Combat Depression and Anxiety: Changing the Body and Mind

Most people know that exercise lowers blood pressure, reduces obesity, improves cardiovascular health, and can prolong life. Exercise, however, isn’t just a long-term strategy for better physical health; it also helps stave off depression and anxiety, and the mood-boosting benefits are almost immediate. One study discovered that 30 minutes of low- to moderate-intensity exercise a few times a week is as effective in treating depression as an antidepressant drug. People who exercise regularly tend to judge their bodies according to function rather than form, and experience increased self-esteem. Exercise greatly reduces chronic pain. People feel happier when they’re not in pain, and the benefits of exercise to muscle health can occur surprisingly quickly.

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