While it is a common practice for healthcare providers to prescribe antidepressants for patients who suffer from depression or anxiety, these medications can sometimes come with harmful side effects. As a result, the drugs can sometimes end up doing more harm than good.
According to findings that were presented at the annual conference of the Anxiety Disorder Association of America, more mental health professionals should begin prescribing alternative health resources such as exercise to their patients who suffer from anxiety as multiple reports have shown that it helps treat the condition.
“Individuals who exercise report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lower levels of stress and anger,” said Jasper Smits, director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “Exercise appears to affect, like an antidepressant, particular neurotransmitter systems in the brain, and it helps patients with depression re-establish positive behaviors.”
In addition to treating patients for anxiety, exercise can also keep the body flexible, improve sleeping patterns, keep blood pressure in check and help increase bone strength.