A New Prescription for Depression: Join a Team and Get Sweaty

November 02, 2018

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


Research has shown that exercise can help ease the symptoms of some mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety. A recent study analyzed data from 1.2 million U.S. adults and found that those who exercised reported fewer days of poor mental health than those who did not. People who participated in team sports reported the fewest. The authors suggested that group sports offer opportunities for social support, which can help alleviate symptoms of depression. Establishing an exercise routine, however, can be challenging for those struggling with mental health issues. Experts offer these tips to get started: (1) find a “sports ambassador,” someone who can connect you with a group physical activity; (2) try to find a group whose skill level matches yours; (3) if you’re not into team sports, join a run or bike club; (4) invest money in a gym membership or personal trainer so that you are more likely to follow through on your exercise plans; and (5) consider which physical activities you have enjoyed in the past and pursue those.

Spark Extra! Read the study abstract.