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Dori Hutchinson quoted in the New York Times

The New York Times quoted Boston University’s Dori Hutchinson on the benefits of exercise for the mentally ill.

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A story in yesterday’s New York Times quoted Boston University’s Dori Hutchinson, executive director of services at the Center for Psychiatric Rabilitation on the benefits of exercise for the mentally ill.

Here is an excerpt from the story by Abby Ellin:

Scientists have long known that exercise lifts the spirits of people without mental illness, and hundreds of studies have shown how it can improve the psychological health of those who suffer moderate depression, whether or not they take medication or engage in talk therapy.

But newer research has looked specifically at what good exercise can do for people with conditions like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and severe anxiety disorders. In a recent study at Boston University, for example, 15 previously sedentary patients suffering from mood or psychotic disorders exercised with an instructor three times a week. After three months they reported that their symptoms of depression had lessened, and that they felt a sense of empowerment they had not known before.

Mental health experts, already concerned about their patients’ weight and inactivity, have been spurred by such research to encourage patients to work out.

"More and more people in the field are looking at this because people with mental illness are dropping dead from things that are lifestyle related," like a lack of exercise and poor nutrition, said Dori Hutchinson, the executive director of services at the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, a research center at Boston University that recently began a four-day-a-week program. Patients walk, stretch and lift weights with a trainer and once a week play basketball or soccer. They also learn about nutrition and cooking.