Everybody knows exercising is good for your physical health, but its effect on mental well-being is far too often overlooked. To be honest, this lack of recognition may not be completely unwarranted; a large aspect of many people’s exercise routines entails running themselves ragged until they collapse or feel the need to vomit. Nonetheless, the pain associated with exercise is typically temporary, and exercise as a whole is certainly a good thing. That’s what this post is about, the doctors who have embraced the utility of exercise in its entirety.
Back in 2011, Dr. Madhukar H. Trivedi, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center came to an epiphany after realizing that several of his depressed patients were experiencing a similar phenomenon: they all felt better when they exercised. This realization motivated Dr. Trivedi to explore the mental health benefits of exercise further. In short, he placed several patients who had been taking antidepressants on exercise plans of varying intensity over a several month period. What did he find? Exercise tended to lessen the symptoms of depression. Furthermore, there was a direct relationship between exercise duration and intensity, and the number of people whose symptoms improved.
Dr. Trivedi isn’t the first to discover exercise’s benefits outside of six-pack abs and 4-minute miles. There has been a growing trend in recent years among doctors and physiologists who are realizing the potential exercise could exhibit as a formal medicine. Yes, doctors are entertaining the possibility of prescribing personalized exercise plans to patients and following their progress as they would with a pill or injection. Personally, I wouldn’t mind having the services of a personal trainer covered under my medical insurance.
Learn more about Dr. Trivedi’s study here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/31/prescribing-exercise-to-treat-depression/