Exercise Therapy helpful way for Treating Depression and Anxiety

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[Best Syndication News] Exercise Therapy should be prescribed to depression and anxiety patients more often said Jasper Smits, director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Smits reviewed several published studies that looked at the benefits of exercising to treat depression and anxieties. The researchers presented their findings in Baltimore at the annual conference of the Anxiety Disorder Association of America on March 6th.

The researcher said that therapists should be trained in exercise therapy to help their patients with this kind of treatment. Exercise programs were seen to reduce depression and anxiety in several studies.

Traditional treatment for anxiety and depression has been cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy. Some patients may not be able to afford these traditional therapies and exercise could be used to fill the gap. Smits added that sometimes social stigma plays a role in people avoiding treatments for anxiety and depression and exercising maybe helpful for those patients.

"Individuals who exercise report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lower levels of stress and anger," Smits says. "Exercise appears to affect, like an antidepressant, particular neurotransmitter systems in the brain, and it helps patients with depression re-establish positive behaviors. For patients with anxiety disorders, exercise reduces their fears of fear and related bodily sensations such as a racing heart and rapid breathing."

Smits said that patients should first undergo a health assessment to determine their ability to exercise. The goal would be to get them exercising for up to 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week. He says that approximately 40 percent of Americans live a sedentary life and don't exercise.

Smit says that therapists shouldn't promote the exercise for its long term health benefits but to sell it as a short term way to improve mood. Only after 25 minutes of exercise moods improve and are less stressed and the person can have more energy he says.

The therapists need to also help in the goal setting of the exercise program with the individual. Smits suggests having daily schedules, problem-solving strategies, and goal-setting plans for each patient.

By: N Wilson

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