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Exercise works better than antidepressants according to researchers

FITT Insider March 14, 2023

Physical activity, especially high-intensity exercise, was 1.5 times

more effective thancounseling or leading medications in treating depression.

Beneficial effects were reported across all clinical populations, with the greatest impacton those with major depressive disorder and those undergoing supervised exercise.

The researchers were clear in their conclusions: Physical activity is an evidence-based antidepressant and should be pursued as a “first-choice treatment.”

Movement as medicine.

These findings strengthen the growing link between moremovement and better mental health. Alzheimer’s researchers touted exercise as the “top theoretical treatment” for thedisease. Physical activity was shown to improve mental health and behavioral issues among pre-teens. Moderate physical activity and walking cut the risk of cognitive impairment anddementia for senior women.

The first step…

To combat a lack of motivation and establish a routine, it’ll be important formental health clinicians to create structured exercise protocols—from walks to working out—for those with chronic depression or illness.


With burnout on the rise, more Americans are taking action, sayingimproving mental health is their top reason for exercising. In response, fitness operators aredesigning programs around resilience, stress management, and more:

This March, Beachbody rebranded to BODi, redesigning its brand around the conceptof self-esteem and launching mindset training courses. Performance training company Exos recently launched burnout reversal programs forcorporate wellness as well as a

mindset and movement initiative in schools.


To date, solutions for mental and physical health have been siloed. But asconsumers pursue

holistic wellness and brands tap into mindful movement, doctors could (and should) begin prescribing workouts for better mental health.

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