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October 16, 1987

Exercise and Mental Health

Author Affiliations

University of Wisconsin (Emeritus) Madison

University of Wisconsin (Emeritus) Madison

JAMA. 1987;258(15):2133-2134. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400150125046

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"Mens sana in corpore sano—aa healthy mind in a healthy body." Although this maxim, originated by the Roman poet Juvenal, has been around for almost 2000 years, modern science calls for proved facts. Therefore, a workshop was held in spring 1984 at the National Institutes of Health with the purpose of screening existing research evidence for the role of exercise as a means for treating or preventing mental or psychological disorders.

The use of exercise in cardiac rehabilitation is well established by now. Experience with people engaged in such exercise programs gave the impression that regular physical activities also yielded positive changes in mental attitude and improved depressive states. Thus, it became natural to explore the idea that regular exercise habits might also have preventive effects on mental disorders.

In the first chapters of this book, the detrimental impact of stress (anxiety, anger, frustrations, emotions, threat, etc) and of