Exercise Isn’t Therapy

In this article, the author highlights the common phrase, “Running is my therapy.”  As Ms. Rom points out, “Running cannot cure mental illness any better than Zumba can cure cancer. Stories about people grappling with PTSD, anxiety, depression or addiction through ultra-running are pervasive in outdoor media…(these stories of) running instead of seeking treatment inadvertently de-legitimize mental illness.”

Additionally, Rom says, “Saying running is therapy can stigmatize seeking help.” This article doesn’t suggest that running isn’t beneficial for mental health. It certainly is, as is any form of exercise. 

However, it is the emphasis on utilizing exercise as an alternative to mental health counseling that is problematic.

While exercise is a component to positive mental health, there are mental illnesses and disorders that will not be uncovered, processed, or overcome without the assistance and expertise of a mental health professional with clinical training.

At the end of the day, exercise, eating right, getting enough sleep and water are essential, but only therapy with a mental health professional is actually therapy. 

If you believe you would benefit from mental health therapy, please contact a professional clinical mental health counselor. 

Written by: Allison Wray