Some hypothesize that moderate levels of exercise will decrease the symptoms of mental health conditions (Blumenthal et al., 2007; Diaz & Motta, 2008; Motta, Kuligowski, & Marino, 2010; Rosenbaum, Nguyen, Lenehan, Tiedemann, van der Ploeg, & Sherrington, 2011) and therefore be used as an alternative or complimentary treatment option for mental health (Libby, Pilver, & Desai, 2012).
While the research of Blumenthal et al. (2007) focused on exercise being effective in reducing self-reported depressive symptoms, Diaz and Motta (2008) and Motta, Kuligowski, and Marino (2010) looked at the positive effects of exercise on depression, anxiety and PTSD. The theory of exercise’s positive effect on mental health has heavily been focused on depression and anxiety, but PTSD is becoming a newer area of research as it contains not only depressive and anxiety based symptoms as well as other symptoms. Libby, Pilver, and Desai (2012) and Blumenthal focused their studies specifically on PTSD.
Blumenthal et al. (2007) and Diaz and Motta (2008) conducted empirical studies to prove their hypotheses about the relationship of exercise and mental health. Blumenthal et al. looked at a sample size of 202 adults over the age of 40 and randomly assigned them to one of four groups: (a) group exercise setting, (b) home based exercise group, (c) sertraline group, or (d) placebo group. The participants who were assigned to the exercise groups participated in a 16 week moderate exercise program. The other two groups either received sertraline or a placebo pill. All participants were assessed before, during, and after using the Becks Depression Inventory II [BDI] (Beck, Sheer, & Brown, 1996) and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale [HAM-D] (Williams, 1988). Similarly, Diaz and Motta put participants through an exercise program to measure the effects on their mental health symptoms. However, Diaz and Motta focused their study on adolescent participants and on PTSD. For this study, participants were between the ages of 14 and 17 and were all female from a residential treatment facility that met the criteria for PTSD (Diaz & Motta, 2008). The researchers used the following self-report inventories to measure the level of PTSD: (a) Child PTSD Symptom Scale [CPSS] (Foa, Johnson, Feeny, & Treadwell, 2001), (b) Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children [TSCC] (Briere, 1996), (c) Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children [MASC] (March, 1997), (d) Children’s Depression Inventory [CDI] (Kovacs, 1992) (Diaz & Motta, 2008).
Libby, Pilver & Desai (2012) also conducted a study looking at PTSD but focused their attention on a global effect of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) on the mental health issue. The researchers finalized 599 participants whose information was gathered through the following instruments: (a) National Comorbidity Survey-Replication [NCS-R] (Kessler et al., 2004), (b) National Latino and Asian American Survey [NLAAS] (Algeria et al., 2004), (c)...