12 Ways Exercise Boosts Mental Health: Easing Depression, Revving Up Sex Drive, Calming Anxiety and More

Working out also boosts self-confidence and helps with PMS, stress and quitting smoking (13 Photos)

Stacey Colino on Oct 28, 2012 at 11:50PM

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12 Ways Exercise Boosts Mental Health: Easing Depression, Revving Up Sex Drive, Calming Anxiety and More

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Aerobicize Your Depression

Sweat your way to happiness. Research shows that regular aerobic exercise works just as well as an antidepressant in treating major depression, and may even be superior at reducing the risk of a recurrence of depressive symptoms, according to a recent study at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. At this point, it isn’t known whether this is because exercise stimulates the opioid system (including the release of mood-boosting endorphins), distracts you from unpleasant thoughts or provides a low-pressure time to solve difficult problems, notes James Blumenthal, Ph.D., a professor of medical psychology at Duke. But the benefits of exercise in improving depression continue to stack up.

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