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The Open University

Exercise and mental health

The Open University via OpenLearn


Each year thousands of pounds are spent on medications to treat conditions such as anxiety and depression. These medications often have negative side effects. Exercise is an alternative treatment that is low cost and has few side effects. In this free course, Exercise and mental health, we will look at the links between exercise and improved mental health and psychological well-being. This will include consideration of the role of exercise in combating stress, anxiety and depression, and in enhancing mood.


  • Introduction
  • Learning outcomes
  • 1 Exercise and mental health
  • 1 Exercise and mental health
  • 2 The role of exercise in reducing anxiety and depression
  • 2 The role of exercise in reducing anxiety and depression
  • 3 Why does exercise improve mental health?
  • 3 Why does exercise improve mental health?
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Acknowledgements


4.5 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

4.2 rating at OpenLearn based on 111 ratings

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  • Profile image for Felicia Butler
    Felicia Butler
    Very insightful, very engaging love the pro and cons of whether exercise can truly be effective in helping with mental. Understanding Mental Health can be tricky. Deciding which medication to give. Will the patient take medication and exercise on a daily consistent basis. Or whether just have the patient exercise without medication. Will recommend to others.

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