Physical exercise has been shown to have multiple benefits for mental health, including reducing depressive symptoms. Exercise can increase the production of endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers that can reduce pain and improve feelings of well-being. Additionally, exercise can reduce the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can cause anxiety and depression when they are present at high levels.
Furthermore, exercise can increase the production of proteins that promote neural growth and development in the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is important for learning and memory. This can lead to improvements in cognitive function and mood regulation.
Depression and anxiety are common mental health issues that affect people of all ages, including adolescents. While physical exercise has been proven to be effective in treating depression in adults, there has been a lack of evidence for its efficacy in adolescents. This clinical trial aimed to determine the effect of structured physical exercise as an add-on therapy for adolescent inpatients hospitalized for depression and anxiety in a psychiatric hospital.
The study randomly assigned 52 adolescent inpatients to either a physical exercise program or a control program, with three to four sessions per week for six weeks (20 hours total). The primary outcome was the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS) for evaluating depression and anxiety symptoms, while secondary outcomes included psychological self-assessments, diagnostic interviews, and physical examinations.