A study into whether physical activity alleviates the symptoms of depression has found there is no benefit.
Research published in the British Medical Journal suggests that adding a physical activity intervention to usual care did not reduce symptoms of depression more than usual care alone.
This contrasts with current clinical guidance which recommends exercise to help those suffering from the mental illness, which affects one in six adults in Britain at any one time.
I thought this was true and all - fuck yeah, randomised controlled trials!
i’m waiting for the study that proves that yoga at sunrise actually makes depression worse
You know what I’ve found that treats depression?
Positive experiences and happiness. Which is different from person to person. And it will make you more depressed to wake up early when you aren’t a morning person and if you are disabled you can’t exercise anyway.
The point is that it’s like what’s healthy to eat.
Alles ist relativ!
Yup. Yoga at sunrise is probably fantastically life affirming for some! For me it just makes me grumpy because I am not a morning person and tired because my depression-related insomnia means I can rarely get to sleep before 1am even when I am exhausted. five hours sleep per night just is not enough for me, sorry.
But go ahead and enjoy your sunrise yoga!
Quick disclaimer: Not a doctor, but a ADD/Depression sufferer who has done a lot of research in this area. I could be completely misunderstanding all of the research I’ve read.
Look, studies have shown that exercise can improve brain function, (can’t remember specifically right now but a lot of them intersect with the study of ADD, which is why I’ve read them). The thing that frustrates me about this ‘Exercise Cures Depression’ myth is that it makes the assumption that depression is entirely a result of chemical dysfunction in your brain. Which it is not. Chemical dysfunction contributes to a large number of peoples’ depression, and often means a biological tendency to experience depression in response to societal causes. (I fall in this category.) BUT DEPRESSION HAS SOCIETAL AND CULTURAL CAUSES ALSO. It is rarely ‘PURELY’ biological.
People might have perfectly well functioning brains and still get depression. People’s brains might function differently in reaction to different chemical levels in the brain. For example, I cannot touch any seratonin inducing medication because it fucks my brain function up even further, whereas for some seratonin is exactly what they need. SO OF COURSE EXERCISE DOESN’T CURE DEPRESSION.
Exercise increases brain function in a particular kind of way, but some people with depression do not need to increase their brain function in that particular way!
And this goes for societal indicators/causes too! As a society we forget that exercise isn’t just a medicinal treatment but actually comes with a whole lot of societal/cultural/mental/physical baggage, and that it will not be the correct form of treatment for everyone.
This is basically my general frustration with a lot of the cultural discourse around mental health. It’s basically a subtler, more insidious version of ‘THIS IS YOUR FAULT THAT YOU FEEL THIS WAY! IF YOU WOULD ONLY [insert culturally assumed cure all here]!’
It’s also frustrating because it leads to studies like this one which, as someone for whom exercise is actually crucial to improving mental behaviour and brain function, invalidates my personal path to recovery and makes all the hard work I have done seem like a trivial waste of my time.
TL;DR version: Of course it doesn’t help everyone’s depression. No one was saying that in the first place were we? Also, attitudes towards mental health are still shit.