|▲ Research results were published which showed that exercise is effective in treating depression and anxiety disorders. (Photo = DB)|
[메디컬투데이=한지혁 기자] Exercise has been shown to be effective in treating depression and anxiety disorders.
The results of an analytical study on the beneficial effects of exercise on mental health have been published in the ‘British Journal of Sports Medicine’.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 1 billion people worldwide suffer from mental illness, particularly anxiety and depression disorders. Anxiety disorders affect around 301 million people, including 58 million children and young people. 280 million people are known to suffer from depression.
In this study, researchers combined a total of 1039 randomized controlled trials and 97 meta-analysis studies to investigate the effects of exercise on depression and anxiety disorders. The total number of participants included in the analysis was 128,119.
As a result of the analysis, exercise was found to be effective in reducing various symptoms of mental illness by an average of 42 to 60%. In contrast, psychotherapy and medication showed much smaller improvements, ranging from 22% to 37%. In particular, the greatest improvement was seen in people suffering from depression, HIV, kidney disease, pregnant women, and postnatal women.
Exercise was effective for everyone over 18, including the elderly, and in people over 45 or in general poor health, walking for 20 to 40 minutes every day helped to relieve feelings of depression and anxiety.
Experts explained that endorphins, neurotransmitters, mitochondria, physiological mechanisms including the hypothalamic-adrenal axis, and the thermogenic hypothesis could be part of the mental health improvement effect of physical exercise.
The thermogenic hypothesis is that an increase in body temperature through exercise relaxes muscle tension and changes nerve activity, thereby reducing anxiety.
In addition, exercise lowers the level of inflammation in the body through cytokines and receptors, adipose tissue, etc., which can be helpful for people suffering from mood disorders.
The researchers noted that establishing a comprehensive treatment plan for people with mental illness would require collaboration with health professionals knowledgeable about exercise.
Medical Today Reporter Han Ji-hyeok (firstname.lastname@example.org)
[저작권자ⓒ 메디컬투데이. 무단전재-재배포 금지]