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Exercise contributes to good mental health

Sinclair Broadcast Group

Everyone knows exercise is good for your physical health.

But, did you know exercise is also good for your mental health?

Working in partnership with our parent company, Sinclair Broadcast Group, we want to bring you important health and safety matters.

Ashley Glass looks at the connection between good mental health and working out.

Clinical depression has been part of Elisa Fraley’s life for as long as she can remember. "It’s been something that I’ve battled probably since my 20’s," said Fraley.

She takes medication for her depression but she also does something she can’t get out of a bottle... exercise. "Ever since college I’ve been working out and I just know that it does help me,” said Fraley.

A series of studies out of Duke University consistently found exercise helps a lot of people in Fraley’s shoes.

The research started with a study of more than 150 adults with mild or moderate depression.

They were separated into three groups:

  • Group 1 took the antidepressant drug, sertraline which is in Zoloft and Lustral.
  • Group 2 took the antidepressant and exercised three times a week for 45 minutes.
  • Group 3 did exercise only.

The treatment lasted for 4 months. They found treating depression with exercise was just as effective as medication. It was basically a three-way tie.

Here's where it got even more interesting.

They followed up six months later and found the exercise only group did overwhelmingly better with much fewer patients relapsing.

Psychologist Laura Vernon says exercise can be just as good for your brain as it is for your body. “Your body does all sorts of things. It's releasing endorphins that we all know about the sort of feel good hormones that will get you through and give you energy, but you're also in some ways changing your body chemistry moving forward,” said Vernon.

The studies concluded that it's not that medication doesn't work, it does. It's that exercise works just as well, and it has the added bonus of creating a positive new identity.

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