what is mental health?

"Mental health does not exist on its own. It is an integral and
essential part of overall health, which can be defined in at
least three ways – as the absence of disease, as a state of the
organism that allows the full performance of all its functions
or as a state of balance within oneself and between oneself
and one’s physical and social environment"

what is depression?

The National Institute of Mental Health defines depression as “a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.”

what is anxiety?

Anxiety is defined when you “display excessive anxiety or worry, most days for at least 6 months, about a number of things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances.

In a study concerning college students that had shown high levels of depression/ anxiety and their serotonin levels were measured by taking their blood, they were placed in either an aerobic exercise group or to a stretching control group. 

The two groups were then put through their activities and it was found that the exercise group had lower levels of depression than the stretching- control group.

The exercise group showed a larger percentage decrease in serotonin than the stretching control group which is good because percent change in serotonin was found to partially mediate the relationship between exercise and depression.

While exercise shows moderate to large reductions in depression, it’s only shows to have small to moderate reductions in anxiety.

A key thought is that exercise has a positive effect on depression and anxiety because it results in an increase of physical self concept/ esteem and that's why it may help relieve both depression and anxiety. 

Exercise makes more serotonin available so it has a function similar to antidepressants.

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