How is exercise relevant for PTSD?

People with serious mental illnesses are more likely to be sedentary than the general population. This can lead to chronic medical conditions associated with inactivity. Physical activity reduces the risk of these medical conditions, and positive psychological effects have also been reported, including improved quality of life. Exercise also has the potential to alleviate secondary symptoms including depression, low self-esteem and social withdrawal.

What is the evidence for the effectiveness of exercise for people with PTSD?

Moderate to high quality evidence found a medium-sized effect of improved PTSD symptoms following physical activity (pre-post analysis). Compared to control conditions the effect was larger, but reduced over time (>1 month after the trial ended). The effect was largest in low quality studies, in military samples, with yoga rather than other exercise conditions, and when compared to passive rather than active control conditions.

August 2021

Image: © Li Zhongfei – stock.adobe.com

Last updated at: 11:23 am, 30th November 2021
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