Running as Effective as Antidepressants for Mental Health Improvement, Study Finds

A recent study has uncovered that running has a comparable impact on mental health improvement as antidepressant medications.


Researchers at VU University Amsterdam conducted a study of 141 individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, or both mental health issues. The study involved two treatment options over a 16-week period: running or medication. Among the participants, 45 individuals chose to take antidepressant medications, while 96 individuals opted to join a running group.

Patients who chose running reported a reduction in depression and anxiety after 16 weeks compared to those who took medications. Additionally, they experienced benefits in terms of weight, waist measurements, blood pressure, and cardiac function.

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On the other hand, individuals treated with medication exhibited deteriorations in their indicators of mental health.

At the end of the study, both groups showed an overall improvement in depression and anxiety, with 44% of individuals in each group reporting better mental health. However, the running group demonstrated enhanced physical health alongside their mental health improvement, while those using antidepressants reported physical health issues.

A research study presented at a conference in Barcelona, Spain, revealed that 52% of participants in the running group adhered to their schedule completely, whereas 82% of those using medication followed their prescribed regimen.

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