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Mental health has become a lot more recognised in the 21st century and the importance of managing mental health has increased. In the 2011/2012 New Zealand Health survey, 14.3% of adults living in New Zealand had been diagnosed with depression at some time in their lives. Ups and downs in mood and anxious feelings are normal to respond to everyday stressors but depression is defined as “an illness that can affect how you feel and behave for weeks or months at a time. When you are depressed, your low mood lasts, affecting your sleep, relationships, job and appetite”. The most common treatment for depression is pharmacological medication such as sertraline, fluoxetine and citalopram. Another common treatment is psychotherapy undertaken by a psychologist. But there is good news for those that don’t like taking lots of medication or don’t like the side effects that come along with it. Exercise has been proven to be as effective in treating depression as pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy with a lower degree and relapse rate of depression.There is also very strong positive evidence of exercise being a successful treatment to alleviate symptoms of depression when compared to no treatment. Exercise has a direct effect on the pathology, improve symptoms of the disease, and increase general physical fitness and strength and therefore quality of life in individuals. The benefits of exercise on mental health include: Increases - Assertiveness - Emotional stability - Self-control - Work efficiency - Mood Decreases - Alcohol abuse - Anxiety - Depression - Work errors - Headaches The evidence shows stronger results for individuals who participate in group exercise classes. So come talk to one of our physiotherapists about what exercise would be right got you or come along to one of the Bureta Physiotherapys pilates or circuit classes and fight mental illness! For more information regarding help with mental illness look up or free call 0800 111 757.