There’s a powerful medicine gaining favour these days that can’t be found in a tablet or on pharmacy shelves. This potent remedy, which can reduce depression and anxiety, as well as blood pressure and cholesterol, is good old-fashioned exercise. A movement in Canada is emerging among physicians, researchers and public-health experts who want the medical system to harness its healing and preventive powers through exercise prescriptions. A newspaper in Canada (Toronto Star, April 2012), notes that in the past doctors have asked patients to “take more exercise” but have now realised that this does not motivate people to get moving. What motivates patents, apparently, is actually the prescription itself, and so GP’s have started to prescribe the activities, frequency and intensity of exercise relevant to the issue at hand.
So what is the prescription for depression? A brisk walk 4-5 days per week and resistance training twice a week…a total of 150 minutes of exercise each week. Two and a half hours of exercise each week compared to pervasive feelings of loneliness and chronic emptiness? It’s definitely worth a try. The thing about this is that we are not talking about hitting the gym and sweating it out; we are talking about Vitamin N – NATURE! Being out in nature, which researchers tell us has a powerful restorative effect, (Kaplan, 1995) and using some home weights. It fun, free and it works.
Kaplan, S. (1995). The restorative effects of nature: Toward an integrative framework.