NPR

A New Prescription For Depression: Join A Team And Get Sweaty

Most people who struggle with depression and anxiety have heard that exercise is a mood-booster. But exercising with friends, especially playing a team sport may help even more.
Source: Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Ryan "China" McCarney has played sports his entire life, but sometimes he has to force himself to show up on the field to play pick-up soccer with his friends.

"I'm dreading and I'm anticipating the worst. But I do it anyway. And then, it's a euphoric sensation when you're done with it because you end up having a great time," says McCarney.

McCarney was just 22 when he had his first panic attack. As a college and professional baseball player, he says getting help was stigmatized. It took him six years to get professional support. He still struggles with depression and social anxiety, but says exercising helps him — especially when it's with his teammates.

Research shows exercise can ease things like in the journal, Lancet Psychiatry, found that popular team sports may have a slight edge over the other forms of physical activity.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR4 min read
Best Albums Of 2019 (So Far)
We asked our panel of public radio writers one question: What is your favorite album of 2019 so far? There were so many ways to answer.
NPR2 min readSociety
Jeffrey Epstein's Sex Offender Plea Deal Must Stand, Federal Prosecutors Say
Attorneys representing sex abuse victims have argued for years that their clients weren't informed of the once-secret deal beforehand or given the opportunity to testify about it in court.
NPR2 min read
Brittany Howard Announces First Solo Album, Shares 'History Repeats'
The Alabama Shakes singer will release Jaime later this summer. The first single, "History Repeats," is a punch-drunk and funk rumination on humanity's inevitable arc toward self-defeat.