Better than an Antidepressant?


New research finds dancing to be especially effective at treating depression!

For many  people, exercise is a difficult habit to establish, and often because it is not enjoyable.  Those struggling with depression are also challenged to get motivated and into the swing of it. 

The research, published in the British Medical Journal,  was an analysis of 218 different studies with a total of 495 groups of people and over 14,000 participants.  This systematic review was one of the largest existing reviews on exercise for depression. People who engaged in dancing had the greatest reduction in depression, followed by walking, jogging, yoga, strength training, mixed aerobic exercise, and tai chi or qigong.

Another key finding was the relationship between the intensity of the movement and the benefits it yielded.  The greater the intensity of dancing, walking, or jogging, for example, the greater reduction in depression. Additionally, walking and jogging were effective for both men and women in reducing depression, while yoga was more effective for older adults. It is so important to emphasize, however, that any and all movement is better than no movement at all.  So begin where you are comfortable and increase intensity as you can.

Want to get out of the funk and fog?  Increasing blood flow through dancing and other exercises increases the release of neurotransmitters like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine and gives those low moods a big boost.

Be Well!


Lomas, Emilina. New Research Finds Exercise – Especially Dance – to Be Effective at Treating Depression. Oura blog post, March 14, 2024

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