More evidence that exercise helps with mood

August 9, 2018

A study was published in Lancet Psychiatry yesterday that added to the evidence that exercise is good for one’s mental health.  In this study, participants rated their mood nearly 1.5 days per month less if they exercised compared to similar people who didn’t exercise.  Those who engaged in team sports, cycling and other exercise with durations of 45 min and frequencies of three to five times per week reported the best effects.

None of this is really new, but the study supports previous studies that show clear and definitive mental health benefits of regular exercise.

Even a little exercise can help

June 7, 2018

In a blog post from a few years ago about the dose-effect of exercise, I passed along the findings that nearly an hour of rigorous exercise, at least three times per week, can be as effective as antidepressant medication.

A newly published study notes that resistance exercise (such as lifting weights) can be useful in reducing depressive symptoms regardless of the intensity, duration or frequency of the workouts.  So, go out and pump some iron to strengthen your resistance from depression!  Even short, infrequent or not very rigorous workouts are helpful.

No time to exercise?

May 1, 2016

A really interesting study just came out on PLOS One that should be of particular interest to those of us who say they just don’t have enough time to exercise.  The study took a bunch of sedentary guys and divided them into three groups: regular exercise, interval training and lazy controls.  The guys in the exercise group had to continuously exercise for 50 minutes, the lazy controls did nothing, and the interval training group did three 20-second ‘all-out’ cycle sprints interspersed with two minutes of low speed cycling (just ten minutes of alternating intensities of exercise). 

After twelve weeks the researchers noted “that brief intense interval exercise improved indices of cardiometabolic health to the same extent as traditional endurance training in sedentary men, despite a five-fold lower exercise volume and time commitment.”

It’ll be interesting to see if anyone measures the effects of such brief interval exercise on mood and anxiety disorders (see a 2014 blog post I wrote about the antidepressant effects of exercise).

Exercise helps insomnia

August 15, 2013

My patients hear me say it all the time: if you improve your sleep hygiene and exercise more your insomnia will get better.  But I always warn folks that, like most things worth waiting for, the improvements don’t occur “overnight.”  A recent study that was reported upon in USA Today, echoed those same words of wisdom.  People who experience insomnia should improve their sleep hygiene by setting more rigid bedtimes and waketimes, using the bed for sleep and sex only (i.e., no reading or watching tv in bed), etc, and they should exercise more.  The increase of exercise should, of course, be in moderation and should not be just prior to bedtime.

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I bring decades of experience working in a variety of settings and with a variety of people to my clinical practice. In addition to doing therapy with couples and individuals, I specialize in helping people like you deal with work-related problems.