Dr. Emmons explains how exercise can improve mind and body health. He also shares research that suggests that exercise can help fight depression.
Exercise does just about everything good that you would want for your body.
I tell this even to people who do have maybe a more severe depression and need to take medication because exercise, just movement, let’s just say collar movement, it improves blood flow to the brain.
It improves metabolism so that even the metabolism of the drug is improved and generally it will help the medication work better at a lower dose so you can even get the dose reduced.
So it really does everything. It does nothing negative so long as you don’t do it so hard that you injure yourself as some of us are want to do.
But exercise, you know it improves blood flow, metabolism, energy, mental focus, people who have had long-term stress and then they develop some memory or concentration problems, it will help correct that.
It helps the brain start to re-grow new cells and helps them extend and connect better with other cells.
It’s kind of like a fertilizer, if you think of it that way. It’s like a brain fertilizer and it helps those brain cells stay healthy and connect with each other in healthier ways.
There is so much research that shows exercise to be helpful for depression that you’d have to wonder how anybody can still get funding to do more research because it’s been shown over and over and over again throughout the last probably 30 years that exercise is an effective treatment for depression.
Now, obviously it doesn’t work for everyone. There’s people who are well-conditioned athletes who still get depressed or anxious.
But there are good studies that compare exercise head-to-head directly with antidepressants, with good antidepressants.
And over the first few weeks or a couple of months the results are about equal but if you look out at six months and a year, the group that’s exercising does better than the group that takes medication and even better than the group that does both.
There’s some, you know, if you take medication and exercise you don’t have as good a result as the group that just exercises, which I think it’s very interesting.
That just shows that the positive effects of exercise they tend to accumulate over time and it’s just hard to beat.
About Dr. Henry Emmons, M.D.:
Dr. Henry Emmons, M.D., is a psychiatrist who integrates mind-body and natural therapies, mindfulness and allied Buddhist therapeutics, and psychotherapeutic caring and insight in his clinical work. Dr. Emmons obtained his medical degree from the University of Iowa College of Medicine and did his residency in psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, where he was Chief Resident. He practices general and holistic psychiatry and consults with several colleges and organizations nationally. Dr. Emmons is the author of “The Chemistry of Joy: A Three Step Program for Overcoming Depression Through Western Science and Eastern Wisdom.”