Prescribing exercise for mental health: Mode and dose- response considerations

Brandon L. Alderman, Ryan L. Olson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Exercise is effective for treating and preventing anxiety and depression, and for enhancing cognitive function. Recently, increased attention has been devoted to whether specific types (mode) or an optimal amount (dose-response) of exercise can be recommended or prescribed for mental health. This chapter summarizes the available evidence on mode and dose-response relationships of exercise on anxiety, depression, and cognitive function. Currently, it seems prudent to endorse international recommendations of 30-60 minutes of daily moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. Emerging evidence also supports the mental and cognitive-enhancing benefits of resistance exercise, suggesting that muscle strengthening activities should be incorporated in a well-rounded exercise routine. However, future research should recognize the role of individual differences in these exercise-related outcomes as well as the influence of other mind-and-body physical activities (yoga, tai chi, qigong) that are regularly practiced by many people around the world. We conclude the chapter by outlining some general evidence-based recommendations for prescribing exercise for mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Exercise Effect on Mental Health
Subtitle of host publicationNeurobiological Mechanisms
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9781498739528
ISBN (Print)9781498739511
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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