M. Jackson Group Update – July 2017 – Exercise is Awesome

This month’s post is again from Ken Pope’s listserv, where he kindly provides daily summaries of current articles in the field. He and others have provided a steady flow of studies showing quite remarkable outcomes from regular exercise. For those of us with family histories of medical conditions such as diabetes, a desire to be more nimble and happy in day-to-day life, and the aspiration to age well, there is really no ambiguity here. Regular exercise is an important part of the picture.
The article is as follows (excerpting and editing is by Ken Pope):
The Wall Street Journal includes an article: “Exercise Has a Cascade of Positive Effects, Study Finds” by Deborah Gage.
Here are some excerpts:
[begin excerpts]
Exercise has been shown to protect against diabetes, stroke and several other diseases and to improve our moods.
But does it also make us more likely to engage in other activities? Do people who exercise tend to have better social lives or achieve more of their goals?
The answer appears to be yes, according to a study that has been accepted for publication in the journal Personality and Individual Differences. Exercise not only makes us feel more positive, the study found, but it also increases the likelihood that we’ll do more positive things.
That supports the use of exercise to help treat people with depression, anxiety and other illnesses. It also suggests exercise could help healthy people improve their everyday lives.
The results: On a given day, students who exercised also tended to participate in more social and achievement activities than on days when they didn’t exercise, the study found, and they engaged in activities that tended to matter to them more.
In addition, exercise on one day predicted positive social activity on the next day, but not achievement activity.
The researchers also found that positive social and achievement activities on one day didn’t predict exercise on the next day.
The results support an approach to treating depression called behavioral activation.
“When we become depressed or whatever it is we’re going through, we say to ourselves that we’ll get out when we feel better,” says Kevin Young, the study’s lead author, who is completing his doctorate in clinical psychology at George Mason University. 
“Unfortunately, what we also see is that we do not feel better until we get out.”
Mr. Young, who will be a clinical psychologist, adds, “We try and help someone start sprinkling activities again into their lives. That will result in improvement in mood, and [positive] emotion will follow.”
Mr. Young says he’s now more inclined to have his patients use exercise to help them re-engage with activities they enjoy. Depression, he says, saps people’s energy and makes them fatigued.
“It’s torture,” he says. “Exercise is one method of intervention we have.”
[end excerpts]
The article is online at:
Ken Pope
Canadian Psychology/psychologie Canadienne article free online at:
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“One of the few things I know…is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time.  Do not hoard what seems good for [later]; give it all, give it now….  Something more will arise for later….  Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you.  You open your safe and find ashes.”
—Annie Dillard