In the most comprehensive review (2023) of global studies to date (1,097 trials, 128,000+ participants), University of South Australia researchers found that exercise should be the “first choice treatment” for depression, anxiety and psychological distress, as it improves symptoms 1.5 times better than both leading medications and talk therapy. Every type of exercise—from walking to resistance training to yoga—proved beneficial. The benefits were seen in every clinical population, with the biggest impact on people with major depressive disorder and those who did supervised exercise.
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