That’s according to the latest research. Here are the key points from the article on Medical News Today:

  • Researchers from Amsterdam conducted a study to see whether running could be as helpful as antidepressants for treating depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • The researchers found that both groups experienced similar improvements in their depression symptoms.
  • However, the running group also saw improvements in physical health, while the antidepressant participants experienced slightly worse physical health.

The researchers recruited 141 participants with either depression or anxiety disorder. They gave the participants the option to take either an antidepressant — the SSRIs escitalopram or sertraline — or participate in a running group two to three times per week.

The running group participants had to attend two or three running sessions that lasted 45 minutes each week. The researchers expected them to complete at least 70% of the sessions, and participants wore heart rate monitors during running sessions so researchers could track their participation level and other data.

Regardless of which treatment plan people participated in, both groups saw improvements in mental health overall.

When comparing the participants’ depression symptoms at the beginning of the study to the end, 43.3% of the running therapy group saw their depression go into remission, and 44.8% of the antidepressant group experienced remission.

Participants in the antidepressant group saw improvement in their anxiety symptoms more quickly than people in the running group, but the end result at the end of the 16-week study was almost the same.

While both treatment plans were nearly identical in terms of depression improvement, the running therapy group saw improvements in physical health that the antidepressant group did not experience.

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