Better than medication? These sports help with depression, pain, and headache

Sport is good for much more than burning calories. If you move regularly, you are doing something good for your whole body. Many sports can even help with illness – sometimes better than medication.

Whether you are suffering from migraine, back pain or depression: Sport can help in many cases. Scientists have determined in different studies how certain sports help against diseases. In one case, they noticed even better results from the movement than from medication.

Team sport against depression

Sport has a positive effect on the psyche. Yale and Oxford scientists showed that in a large-scale study last year. They analyzed the data of more than 1.2 million Americans and observed how sport affected their mental health. They found that people who did sports regularly felt better. This was especially true for team sports. But also when cycling, aerobics and activities in the gym, the researchers noticed positive effects.

But beware: more exercise does not always mean a better mood. The scientists saw the biggest effects in 45 minutes of physical activity three to five days a week. On the other hand, they did not associate more than three hours of sports with poorer mental health compared to any other sport.

Staying young with cycling: Already three-quarters of an hour is enough

Anyone who cycles regularly does something about the aging of their cells. According to US researchers, just three short intervals per week help to slow down cell aging. For each unit, 16 minutes of high-intensity cycling is sufficient.

Stopping cell aging, the scientists explained that training maximizes the respiratory capacity of the mitochondria at the cellular level. They found that a lower mitochondrial respiratory capacity, however, increases the frailty of a person.

Endurance training for headaches

If you have pain on the forehead and temples, you should try endurance sports. In a small study, scientists determined how the frequency and intensity of migraine changed. The study participants did endurance training three times a week for 45 minutes each. The training consisted of cycling, workouts on the cross-trainer and brisk walking.

Although the participants who completed the endurance training had in comparison to the control group, not an uncommon migraine. But not only the physical fitness and activity improved, the study participants were better in everyday life with the migraine. In addition, the intensity of headache and neck pain decreased.

Strength training against back pain

Whether you are sitting a lot or have a poor posture – many suffer from chronic back pain. To counteract this, strength training is suitable. It supports and stabilizes the muscles and thus ensures a better posture.

In addition, weight training protects women after menopause from osteoporosis and bone fracture. This was determined by a study by US researchers. The scientists found that women with strong back muscles did not have half as many vertebras as untrained women.

Recovery after the stroke

Even after a stroke, the sport can do wonders. This was an international research team from the London School of Economics and Harvard Medical School out. They evaluated around 300 examinations from a total of about 340,000 patients. In doing so, they compared the influence of physical activity compared to medication. Overall, they found that people in the rehabilitation phase after a stroke benefited greatly from sport.

In many cases, they achieved better results through regular exercise than through medication. The German Stroke Assistance Foundation recommends sports such as gymnastics, athletics or swimming. These help to strengthen stamina, coordination, flexibility, and strength as well as to stabilize the psyche.