Oct, 8, 2023 – In terms of physical health, the running demonstrated improvements, while the antidepressants had a slightly negative impact.

One drawback of the running was that it had a much higher dropout rate, the study found.

“We wanted to compare how exercise or antidepressants affect your general health, not just your mental health,” said lead researcher Brenda Penninx, a professor from Vrije University, Amsterdam, when she presented the work at the ECNP conference in Barcelona.

“This study gave anxious and depressed people a real-life choice, medication or exercise,” she went on. “Interestingly, the majority opted for exercise, which led to the numbers in the running group being larger than in the medication group.”

The antidepressant group took the medication Escitalopram (brand name Lexapro), which is used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder.

The running group participated in two to three “closely supervised” 45-minute group sessions per week.