The Daily Telegraph has taken note of the research of SMU psychologist Jasper Smits, who co-authored a book detailing how exercise can provide relief for people who struggle with depression and anxiety disorders.
“Exercise has been shown to have tremendous benefits for mental health,” says Smits, director of SMU’s Anxiety Research and Treatment Program. “The more therapists who are trained in exercise therapy, the better off patients will be.”
Smits and Michael Otto, psychology professor at Boston University analyzed numerous studies and determined exercise should be more widely prescribed by mental health care providers.
They presented their findings to researchers and mental health care providers March 6 at the Anxiety Disorder Association of America’s annual conference in Baltimore. Their workshop was based on their therapist guide “Exercise for Mood and Anxiety Disorders,” with accompanying patient workbook (Oxford University Press, September 2009).
The guide draws on dozens of population-based studies, clinical studies and meta-analytic reviews that demonstrate the efficacy of exercise programs, including the authors’ meta-analysis of exercise interventions for mental health and study on reducing anxiety sensitivity with exercise.
By Richard Alleyne
Researchers found that a workout reduces stress and anger and boosts the sense of physical wellbeing.
They claim physical exercise should be more widely prescribed as a treatment to tackle depressive or anxiety disorders.
Professor Jasper Smits, a psychologist, at the southern Methodist University in Dallas said that physical therapy could be prescribed instead of or as a supplement to medication.
“Exercise can fill the gap for people who can’t receive traditional therapies because of cost or lack of access, or who don’t want to because of the perceived social stigma associated with these treatments,” he said.
“Exercise also can supplement traditional treatments, helping patients become more focused and engaged.
“Individuals who exercise report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lower levels of stress and anger.