Thursday 28 November 2013

Plato Had it Right

‘‘On order for man to succeed in life, god provided him
with two means, education and physical activity. Not
separately, one for the soul and the other for the body but
for the two together. With these two means, men can attain
perfection’’ (Plato, fourth century BC).

Physical activity is associated with a range of health benefits, and its absence can have harmful effects on health and well being, increasing the risk for coronary heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, obesity, hypertension and all cause mortality (CDC 1996). Physical inactivity may also be associated with the development of mental disorders: some clinical and epidemiological studies have shown associations between physical activity and symptoms of depression and anxiety in crosssectional and prospective-longitudinal studies (Abu-Omar et al. 2004a, b; Bhui and Fletcher 2000; Farmer et al.
1988; Dunn et al. 2001; Goodwin 2003; Haarasilta et al. 2004; Lampinen et al. 2000; Motl et al. 2004). Moreover, exercise is an integral part in the treatment and rehabilitation of many medical conditions. Improving physical well being may also lead to improved psychological well being and is generally accepted that physical activity may have positive effects on mood and anxiety. What is the empirical evidence for this belief: what do we not know about the association of physical activity and depression or anxiety (disorders) and can/should exercise (training) be used in the treatment of depression or anxiety disorders?
From  Ströhle, A. (2009). Physical activity, exercise, depression and anxiety disorders. Journal Of Neural Transmission (Vienna, Austria: 1996)116(6), 777-784. doi:10.1007/s00702-008-0092-x

The more I read the more I find out that there has not been enough 'good' research done to scientifically state that exercise can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and mood disorders.

But we know it does.

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