Donna felt depressed. She had just received a low C grade on her first biochemistry test, and as a freshman medical student, she was extremely worried about her chances of staying in the program. After pulling on her jacket, she went out for a 40-minute brisk walk on the hilly roads near her school. By the time Donna returned to her dorm room, her spirits were lifted, her depression was gone, and she sat down at her desk with a renewed determination to keep pressing on with her studies.

Mary came home feeling tense, anxious, and irritable. She was a manager for a large business firm and had spent all day unsuccessfully trying to mend sharp differences between two of her key department heads. After fighting traffic for 45 minutes on the way home, she felt she needed to clear her mind. In her well-worn jogging shoes, Mary went out for a 30-minute jog on the dirt trails behind her house, and by the time she returned home, she felt completely different. Her mind felt relaxed, her mood was elevated, and all her built-up tension was erased.

Is this fact or fancy? Is it really true that exercise can help alleviate mental anxiety, depression, and other problems? Does the motion of the body influence the psychological health of the mind? Continue reading “Exercise and the mind”