Working Out Your Emotions With Exercise

One of the more popular reports I've posted this year about the value of exercise dealt with the positive effect it can have when doctors prescribe exercise for their patients to follow. A California psychiatrist has attracted an increasing amount of attention -- some of it negative from colleagues -- over the past year for doing something very similar.

Dr. Wayne Sandler works out with several clients on facing treadmills -- either running or walking at a comfortable pace -- while talking to them during 45-minute therapy sessions in his office. By doing so, Sandler says he can better treat a patient's physical and emotional well-being.

This technique certainly sounds good to me, especially if it means patients are staying away from potentially toxic antidepressants that can devastate their health.

But some of his colleagues remain skeptical about this benefit, because something as unconventional like a treadmill in a psychiatrist's office may create "a relaxed standard" of treatment. According to Sandler, however, this strategy seems to create the opposite effect. In fact, exercising can deepen a connection with a patient and break down the barriers that interfere with therapy. Another mental health professional and a certified trainer working with patients the same way in Washington, D.C. said it best: I don't think I ever met someone who, after working out at the gym, was more depressed.

If you're looking for the best way to get started with an exercise program, I urge you to review the many articles I've posted by contributing editors Paul Chek and Dr. Ben Lerner.

Los Angeles Times July 25, 2005

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