Running as an Adjunct to Psychotherapy.

Leer, Frederic.  Running as an Adjunct to Psychotherapy (1980).  National Association of Social Workers, Inc.


The physical benefits of running and other forms of exercise have been highly publicized over the past several years. This article explores the equally valuable psychological benefits to be derived from running and examines how mastering a physical skill can be generalized to mastery in other areas of life.




The Running Meditation Response: An Adjunct to Psychotherapy.

Bumpus, A. & Solomon, E. (1978). The Running Meditation Response: An Adjunct to Psychotherapy.  American Journal of Psychotherapy 32(4).


Notes that an altered state of consciousness or peak experience is activated by simultaneously practicing the physical technique of slow, long-distance running and the mental technique of practical meditation. Hypnosis is used in selected cases to further enhance and accelerate addiction to this new modality. Indications and contraindications are discussed, as well as physiologic and psychologic effects. Specific uses in various psychiatric, psychosomatic, and somatic syndromes are outlined, and suggestions are included for incorporating this modality into the framework of individual and/or group psychotherapy.



Exercise as Treatment for Anxiety: Systematic Review and Analysis.

Stonerock, G., Hoffman, B., Smith, P., & Blumenthal, G. (2015). Exercise as Treatment for Anxiety: Systematic Review and Analysis. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 49(4).


Background: Exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety, but few studies have studied exercise in individuals pre-selected because of their high anxiety.

Purpose: To review and critically evaluate studies of exercise training in adults with either high levels of anxiety or an anxiety disorder.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) in which anxious adults were randomized to an exercise or non-exercise control condition. Data were extracted concerning anxiety outcomes and study design. Existing meta-analyses were also reviewed.

Results: Evidence from 12 RCTs suggested benefits of exercise, for select groups, similar to established treatments and greater than placebo. However, most studies had significant methodological limitations, including small sample sizes, concurrent therapies, and inadequate assessment of adherence and fitness levels.

Conclusions: Exercise may be a useful treatment for anxiety, but lack of data from rigorous, methodologically sound RCTs precludes any definitive conclusions about its effectiveness.



Longitudinal Associations Between Physical Activity and Depression Scores in Swedish Women Followed 32 Years.

Gudmundsson, P., Lindwall, M., Gustafson, D., Ostling, S., Hallstrom, T., Waern, M., & Skoog, I. (2015). Longitudinal Associations Between Physical Activity and Depression Scores in Swedish Women Followed 32 Years.


Objective: Physical activity is negatively associated with depressive symptoms. However, few studies consider dynamic associations of changes in physical activity and reciprocal relationships. This study aimed to perform comprehensive evaluations of relationships between physical activity and depression scores in women followed from mid- to late-life.

Method: The Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg, Sweden provided repeated measures of self-reported physical activity and depressive symptoms between 1974–2005 (baseline N=676, 84.5 % response rate). Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale and physical activity was evaluated by the Saltin-Grimby Physical Activity Level Scale. Latent growth curve analyses were used to evaluate associations of change and cross-lagged models were used to study the reciprocal relationship between physical activity and depression scores.

Results: At baseline, lower levels of physical activity were related to higher depression scores. Individuals with decreasing physical activity over time evidenced higher depression scores at 32 year follow-up. Higher average baseline depression score was related to declining levels of physical activity at subsequent examinations.

Conclusion: Reduced physical activity may be a long-term consequence of depression. It is important to address individual changes in physical activity and not merely absolute levels of physical activity in relationship to depression.



Effects of a Six-Month Walking Intervention on Depression in Inactive Post-Menopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Bernard, P., Ninot, G., Bernard, P.L.,  Picot, M.C.,  Jaussent, A., Tallon, G.  & Blain, H. (2014).  Effects of a Six-Month Walking Intervention on Depression in Inactive Post-Menopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Aging and Mental Health.


Objectives: Physical inactivity and advanced age are associated with risk of depressive disorders. Physical activity can reduce depressive symptoms in older subjects with depressive disorders. We investigated whether a walking intervention program may decrease the occurrence of depressive symptoms in inactive post-menopausal women without depression.Method: A total of 121 participants aged 5775 years were randomly assigned to a six-month moderate intensity walking intervention (three times a week, 40 minutes per session, supervised and home-based) or to a control group (waiting list). Inactivity was assessed using the Physical Activity Questionnaire for the Elderly. Depression levels were measured pre- and post-intervention with the Beck depression inventory (BDI). Several baseline measures were considered as possible predictors of post-intervention BDI score.

Results: Participants in the walking intervention showed a significant decrease in depression as compared with controls. Baseline cognitive-BDI subscore, subjective health status, body mass index and adherence were post-intervention BDI score predictors.

Conclusion: A six-month, three-session per week, moderate intensity walking intervention with a minimal 50% adherence rate reduces depression in post-menopausal women at risk for depression due to physical inactivity. This type of walking intervention could be considered as a widely accessible prevention strategy to prevent depressive symptoms in post-menopausal women at risk of depression.



Two Interventions Decrease Anxiety Sensitivity Among High Anxiety Sensitive Women: Could Physical Exercise be the Key?

Krigoslov, O., Sabourin, B., Stewart S., & Watt, M. (2016) Two Interventions Decrease Anxiety Sensitivity Among High Anxiety Sensitive Women: Could Physical Exercise be the Key? Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy.


A brief group-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), with running as an interoceptive exposure (IE) component, was effective in reducing anxiety sensitivity (AS) levels in undergraduate women (Watt, Stewart, Lefaivre, & Uman, 2006). This study investigated whether the CBT/IE intervention would result in decreases in AS and emotional distress that would be maintained over 14 weeks. Female undergraduates, high (n 5 81) or low (n 5 73) in AS, were randomized to 3-day CBT plus forty-two 10-min running IE trials (n 5 83) or 3-day health education control (HEC) with interactive discussions and problem solving on exercise, nutrition, and sleep (n 5 71). The CBT/IE intervention led to decreases in AS, depression, and stress symptoms for high AS participants, which were maintained at 14 weeks. Unexpectedly, HEC participants experienced similar and lasting decreases in AS, depression, and anxiety symptoms. Furthermore, there were no post-intervention differences between CBT/IE and HEC participants in any of the outcomes. Low AS participants experienced few sustained changes. Clinical implications and the possible role of aerobic exercise in explaining outcomes of both interventions are discussed.



When the Best Therapy is Right at Your Feet

Douglas, Scott. (2018). When the Best Therapy is Right at Your Feet.  Runners World Magazine. Retrieved online:


"Running puts everyone in a good mood.  But for some of us, our miles are key to managing depression and anxiety."



Another Mother Runner Podcast: #305 Author Alex Hutchinson on Mental Endurance

Another Mother Runner Podcast Interview from March 30, 2018.  Retrieved online:

Overview (taken from Another Mother Runner) 

Sarah and co-host Tish Hamilton enjoy a quick catch-up, and Tish tells the tale of her spring break PR. (Psst: It involves location, not time!) Alex Hutchinson, author of the newly released ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, joins the conversation to talk about mental endurance and the power of the mind. In calming tones, Alex explains limits are negotiable and the importance of getting out of your own way. From “the base of the mountain,” he talks about how to become aware of the internal monologue you have with yourself on a run—and how to reframe that “conversation” to enhance self-belief. Nod along as Alex discusses the “deeply worn grooves in your mind.” Validation that the mere perception of mental fatigue (sigh) can affect a run leads to an intriguing pre-race suggestion. Sarah and Alex discuss the timing of when to work out, with Alex offering a practical point sure to resonate with mother runners. He offers many bits of running advice that apply for everyday life, including singing the praises of running with someone.