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Exercise interventions for the treatment of affective disorders : research to practice
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by Robert StantonRobert Stanton, Brenda Happell, Melanie HaymanMelanie Hayman, Peter ReaburnPeter Reaburn
Mental illness presents a growing disease burden, with worldwide prevalence estimates between 18 and 36% (1). In the USA, the prevalence of affective disorders including unipolar depression and bipolar disorder (BD) is around 20% (2, 3). While psychotropic medications remain at the front line of treatment for affective disorders, a growing body of research evidence strongly supports the role of exercise in the treatment of these affective disorders. Although remaining to be elucidated, there are a number of potential mechanisms by which exercise may be beneficial including neurobiological (4, 5) and pharmacological-like mechanisms (6). In the present paper, we shall discuss recent findings fromsystematic reviews and make recommendations for structured exercise, as distinct from unstructured or incidental physical activity, in the treatment of both depression and BD. This review also examines the role of exercise in the treatment of post-natal depression (PND) since this often transient but prevalent condition is rarely examined.