Multiple studies have shown that regular exercise is as effective as antidepressant medications at treating mild to moderate depression. A recent study completed at Harvard University showed that running for 15 minutes or walking for an hour each day reduced the risk of major depressive disorder by more than 25 percent. Exercise promotes neural growth and releases endorphins, which can function as a sort of natural antidepressant.
These qualities also make exercise a good option for treating anxiety. Exercise can relieve tension and reduce stress while boosting overall energy. To treat anxiety, exercise is especially helpful when practiced mindfully. Paying attention to how your body feels during exercise interrupts the flow of worries that is characteristic of anxiety.