In a groundbreaking meta-analysis of 97 studies, researchers have illuminated the significant role of physical activity in mitigating symptoms of depression and anxiety. The comprehensive review, which included data from approximately 128,000 individuals, was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) and highlighted the varying effectiveness of different types of exercise.
Strength training emerged as the most potent form of physical activity for alleviating depression, with a moderate effect size of 0.64. Aerobic activities also demonstrated benefits, albeit to a lesser extent. For anxiety, a combination of yoga, stretching, and mind-body activities showed promising results.
The analysis underscores the importance of exercise frequency, advocating for a regimen of 4-5 times per week to achieve optimal mental health benefits. Interestingly, the most significant improvements were observed within the first 12 weeks of consistent physical activity.
While the study acknowledges that professional treatment is crucial for severe cases, it also celebrates the power of physical activity as a complementary therapy. For those grappling with mental health challenges, the message is clear: incorporating exercise into one’s routine can be a transformative step towards wellness.
For more detailed insights, read the full article on The Jerusalem Post.