Jump Start – The Science of Exercise Therapy for Anxiety & Depression, by Benjamin Kramer, is a well-researched 29-page book reviewing research on exercise and its effects on depression and anxiety. The book reveals that multiple studies have shown the benefits for exercise on depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders:
Exercise is a powerful preventative for mood disorders.
Exercise has about the same benefits as medications for treating mood disorders.
Those that use exercise for treating mood disorders are much less likely to relapse than those using drugs.
It can be problematic starting an exercise program while depressed because it is harder to find the motivation. An interesting approach mentioned by the author is to start out with medication, which will alleviate symptoms. Then it might be easier to get started with exercising, and the drugs may not be needed longer-term. This is something that should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
After providing a good incentive for exercising for mental health benefits, the book concludes with some good advice and types of exercise and how to get started.