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Conquering Depression and Anxiety Through Exercise Paperback – April 1, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
It is generally accepted in the mental-health community that exercise can be an antidote to depression. Nor is it much in dispute that exercise is beneficial to ones overall health. So its rather odd that Johnsgard, professor emeritus of psychology at San Jose State University, insists on declaring that the connection between good mood and exercise is new. Nonetheless, his volume is a useful consideration of the evidence; it presents experimental studies and case studies that trace the role of exercise in elevating mood, as well as studies comparing the effect of exercise with other forms of treatment, such as talk therapy and medication. Getting into more specific questions, he cites evidence that aerobic and anaerobic exercise are equally effective, even for the most severely depressed. In terms of the relative efficacy of exercise and Zoloft, he offers only one study (and of only this one drug) as evidence that exercise has longer-lasting effects in elevating mood than the drug. While Johnsgard is a proselytizer, hes not dogmatiche acknowledges that exercise alone is not always enough to deal with depression or anxiety, that it should be used in conjunction with psychotherapy, and that in some cases it just isnt effective. The author examines how to motivate oneself to exercise, how to exercise well, and how to deal with the possible risks of exercise. Covering all the relevant issues makes this a very useful handbook for anyone suffering from depression or anxiety.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"...tackles an important and intensely studied subject...worthwile..." -- Pacific Northwest, The Seattle Times Magazine, Sept. 12, 2004
Top customer reviews
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Wish this book came in a beginners version (without all the details) and a professional version (for those who know how to interpret the research data). I gleaned some information before giving up at about page 214.
I then offered the book to a friend who agreed with my assessment. He gave up after skimming through it.
Also, the glued binding of the book is weak and pages started falling out.
What I appreciated most about the book-and there's plenty here for expert runners as well as beginners-was the author's unique perspective. Using both clinical data and anthropological evidence, Johnsgard shows us how far we've come from Shangri-La, and how running can help us return. The author is a fellow homo-naturalis, so if you're homo-progressus, you're not going to find your techno-manna here. Johnsgard debunks the protein diet fads and gives evidence that elements of the hunter-gatherer existence are necessary for physical and mental well-being.
Johnsgard is foremost a good storyteller, and beginning with book's prologue, he incorporates elements of case study to illuminate his topics. The result is a thoroughly interesting read about the science and history of running. And while the author is always knowledgeable about his subjects-from existential drift to cardiorespiratory fitness-he's humble too; one gets the sense that he's learned all this news the hard way, and at some personal expense. Johnsgard comes across as the kind of runner you'd like to meet on the trail.
Chances are you'll see yourself often in these pages, and that you'll come away with at least a few ideas for self-improvement through exercise.
I've read quite a few books on depression and anxiety. Although many of them helped me to learn and understand, this book was the most practical/pragmatic. Move your body, breathe hard, you'll feel better. (As the author states, one may also need therapy and medication.)
I feel like giving this book to people living with depression and/or anxiety. It could make a huge difference.