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New study shows exercise is as good as medicines or cognitive behavioural therapy for treating depression!

The British Medical Journal has published a ground breaking new article that says exercise is as effective as medication or therapy for treatment of depression.



Assessing over 14,000 participants across over 200 studies, the articles authors found how various methods including taking medication, CBT and exercise including yoga had on depression. The results showed walking or jogging was best for depression amongst the exercises.

Depression, a condition that affects millions worldwide, has traditionally been treated with psychotherapy and antidepressants. However, a recent study sheds light on an alternative yet effective treatment: exercise. This article delves into the findings of a comprehensive study that identifies the optimal dose and modality of exercise for treating major depressive disorder.


Understanding Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder, characterised by persistent sadness and a lack of interest in life, significantly impacts daily functioning. While psychotherapy and medication have been the go-to treatments, they aren’t always effective for everyone.


The Power of Exercise in Treating Depression

Exercise has long been known to improve mental health, but its impact on major depressive disorder is particularly noteworthy. It’s not just about physical health; it’s about mental rejuvenation too.


Study Overview: Objective and Design

The study aimed to compare different forms of exercise with conventional treatments. A systematic review and network meta-analysis were conducted, offering a comprehensive view of the subject by reviewing hundreds of papers and extracting the information from those studies.


Exercise Modalities Examined

The study examined various exercises, including walking, yoga, and strength training. Each modality was evaluated for its effectiveness in reducing depressive symptoms.


Measuring the Impact of Exercise

Interestingly, exercises like walking showed significant reductions in depression symptoms. The intensity of these exercises played a crucial role in their effectiveness.

Comparative Analysis

When compared with psychotherapy and antidepressants, exercise stood out as an equally effective treatment. This finding is significant as it offers a non-pharmaceutical alternative to traditional treatment methods.


Understanding the Limitations

Despite promising results, the study faced limitations, including potential biases and a limited number of low-risk bias studies. This calls for cautious interpretation of the results.

Key Takeaways

The study confirms the effectiveness of exercise, especially yoga and strength training, in treating depression. It highlights the importance of intensity in these exercises.


Practical Implications

For those dealing with depression, incorporating regular exercise, particularly yoga or strength training, could significantly improve symptoms. It’s a viable addition to traditional treatments.


Future Directions in Research

Future studies should aim to overcome the limitations of the current research, possibly by blinding participants to expectancy effects. This would provide more robust evidence of the benefits of exercise in treating depression.


Expert Opinions

Health professionals increasingly recognise the role of exercise in mental health treatment. Their insights further validate the study’s findings.



Exercise, particularly yoga and strength training, emerges as a powerful tool in the fight against depression. It offers a holistic approach to mental health, worthy of consideration alongside traditional treatments.

Consider adding exercise alongside our CBT/psychology range to your regimen to help you stay mentally well ūüíö.