Ask the Doctor: Exercise and Mental Health
Dr. John Ratey, an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an expert on fitness and the brain, addresses how vital exercise is to mental health. Much of the session is dedicated to explaining the benefits of regular exercise on serious mental illness, like chronic depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Research has shown that exercise has a positive effect on an individual’s mood, levels of anxiety, stress and aggression and overall well-being. Both intensive (running, swimming and biking) and leisurely movement can improve emotional regulation and cognitive functioning. Dr. Ratey concludes the call by advocating for the integration of physical activity as an inexpensive and readily available method of treatment for individuals living with mental illness.
For additional information on the effects of exercise on the brain check out Dr. Ratey’s book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.