Physical exercise has many beneficial effects on human health, including the protection from stress-induced depression. However, until now the mechanisms that mediate this protective effect have been unknown. A 2014 study demonstrates that exercise training induces changes in skeletal muscle that can purge the blood of a substance that accumulates during stress, and is harmful to the brain.
Yoga is used for the treatment of cancer patients to decrease depression, insomnia, pain, and fatigue and increase anxiety control. Yoga's ability to improve cognitive functions and reduce stress makes it appealing in the treatment of schizophrenia, because of its association with cognitive deficits and stress related relapse. In one study, at the end of 4 months those patients treated with yoga were better in their social and occupational functions and quality of life
Endorphin production is connected to exercise. Endorphins are chemicals that are able to cross through the gaps between neurons in order to pass along a message from one to the next. There are many different kinds, and much remains to be learned about their different purposes and functions.
By reducing perceived stress and anxiety, yoga appears to modulate stress response systems. This, in turn, decreases physiological arousal — for example, reducing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and easing respiration. There is also evidence that yoga practices help increase heart rate variability, an indicator of the body's ability to respond to stress more flexibly.
Faced with the highest army suicide rates in at least 30 years, U.S. military officials are examining ways to help treat psychologically wounded soldiers. A study published in the March issue of the journal Injury Prevention found the number of U.S. military suicides rose by 80 percent from 2004 to 2008.