From quick boosts in mood to alleviating long-term depression, many studies have shown the powerful impact of exercise on mental health. For some people, the antidepressant effects of exercise can be just as effective as conventional treatments like therapy or medication.
But “exercise is very rarely prescribed,” says Jonathan Roiser, a Professor of Neuroscience and Mental Health at University College London.
That’s one thing he hopes his new research project will help to change.
Professor Roiser’s project – funded by a Wellcome Mental Health Award – will investigate how physical exercise exerts its antidepressant effects.
To do that, Roiser and his research team will run one of the largest trials of its kind on depression and physical activity. Over eight weeks, they will assess changes in brain systems that process reward and effort in 250 participants with depression to better understand how exercise delivered by coaches can alleviate symptoms.
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