Not only does running offer mental health benefits, but it also comes with added physical advantages, says a study
Running can be just as effective as antidepressant medication in improving mental health, a new study conducted by researchers from Vrije University in Amsterdam has revealed.
Not only does running offer mental health benefits, but it also comes with added physical advantages, the study explains.
The research involved 141 participants dealing with depression or anxiety.giving them the option to choose between two treatments over a 16-week period. Out of these, 45 individuals opted for the antidepressant Escitalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), while 96 decided to join a running group that offered supervised 45-minute sessions two or three times per week.
The results showed that both groups experienced a similar reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms, with 44 percent in each group reporting improvement at the end of the trial. However, the running group enjoyed additional physical benefits, including improvements in weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, and heart function. In contrast, the participants in the antidepressant group saw a decline in these metabolic markers.
One important finding was that only 52 percent of participants in the running group adhered fully to the exercise schedule, compared to 82 percent in the antidepressant group. This highlights the challenge of changing lifestyle habits compared to taking a pill.