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Regular exercise can improve mental health for people who suffer from depression and anxiety, according to research from Southern Methodist University.
“Exercise has been shown to have tremendous benefits for mental health,” Jasper Smits, director of the Dallas-based university’s Anxiety Research and Treatment Program, said.
“Individuals who exercise report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lower levels of stress and anger,” he stated. “Exercise appears to affect, like an antidepressant, particular neurotransmitter systems in the brain, and it helps patients with depression re-establish positive behaviors. For patients with anxiety disorders, exercise reduces their fears…and related bodily sensations such as a racing heart and rapid breathing.”
The study is supported by similar findings from other research groups.
The Mayo Clinic found evidence that exercise improves digestive health and releases endorphins, both of which can ease depression. It also revealed that aerobic activity can increase body temperature, which can have a calming effect.
Additionally, exercise has been found to ease symptoms of high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis.