Potential Psychological Mechanisms Underlying the Exercise and Depression Relationship

Authored by: Lynette L. Craft

Routledge Handbook of Physical Activity and Mental Health

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  August  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782999
eBook ISBN: 9780203132678
Adobe ISBN: 9781136477805


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Understanding the ways in which exercise reduces the symptoms of clinical depression is an important step in determining the role for exercise in the standard of care for depression treatment. It can be argued that medicine is filled with examples of treatments coming well before the understanding of how the treatments worked. Antidepressant medications, for example, were being used with patients long before scientists and clinicians had a clear understanding of precisely how they exerted their antidepressant effects (Mayze, 2012). However, there will remain scientists, clinicians, and patients themselves who question the utility of incorporating exercise into the treatment of depression until the mechanisms underlying this relationship have been elucidated. Further, in order to develop the most effective exercise interventions, it is important to understand how exercise elicits its effect.

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