The findings cast doubt on the misconception that patients suffering from mental or physical illness are not motivated to participate in a physical exercise regime, which has similar efficacy to antidepressants and cognitive behavioural therapy in the treatment of depression. It’s effect on suicidal behaviors, however, was unclear.
“This misconception has led to primary care providers under-prescribing exercise, resulting in further deterioration of patients’ mental and physical health,” says Dr. Nicholas Fabiano, a psychiatry resident and lead author of the study with medical student Arnav Gupta.
“The findings of this study “debunk” this belief as exercise was well tolerated in those with mental or physical illness. Therefore, providers should not have apprehension about prescribing exercise to these patients.”
Under the supervision of Dr. Marco Solmi and Dr. Jess Feidorowicz from the Department of Psychiatry, Fabiano and Gupta evaluated 17 randomized control trials with over 1,000 participants to deduct their findings, which are published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
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