Exercise and Depression

teen exercise

Do you know a teenager who is struggling with depression?  A new study says that exercise might help improve their mood.

According to a story from WebMD researchers in Britain found that a regular workout routine significantly lessened the symptoms of depression.

The study was a small one but the results are promising.  Teenaged boys and girls with a diagnosis of depression were enrolled in trainer-led workouts three times a week for twelve weeks. They were encouraged to exercise thirty minutes a day on the other days.

According to the researchers, the workouts were linked to significant boosts in mood, with the severity of their depression cut by sixty-three percent.

In fact, eighty-three percent of the teens who completed the exercise program were no longer as depressed by the end of the study

Study author, Robin Callister of the University of Newcastle, says, “Exercise has so many advantages as a therapy. It is non-drug, has few side effects, and has countless other health benefits. But it has never been tested in youth as treatment for depression.”

Dr. Callister and his team are now conducting a larger trial to further evaluate the effects of exercise on depression.

An expert from the U.S. says the findings make sense.

Mark Solmes at the New York Neuropsychoanalysis Association points out that it is well established that vigorous regular exercise raises endorphin levels and that endorphins reduce the mental pain of depression just as they reduce physical pain.

Solms points out that a potential hurdle is that it’s very difficult to motivate depressed people to exercise.  To read more about this study, go to webmd.com.


If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

Listen to today’s audio here.