The notion that exercise is a viable treatment for PTSD gaining momentum

The notion that physical activity and exercise are viable treatments for PTSD has been gaining momentum in the research community (20–25). The terms are often used interchangeably but are distinct from one another. Physical activity is “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure” [(26), p 126]. Physical activity can be in the form of walking, cycling, sport, household or occupational activities, and can vary widely in the amount of energy expenditure (see Table 1 for description of exercise intensities). Regular physical activity often results in improved balance, coordination, musculoskeletal strength, and/or aerobic fitness, depending on the type. The term exercise is commonly used in the literature and refers to a subcategory of physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and intended to improve or maintain physical fitness (26). Cardiorespiratory fitness is one type of physical fitness that refers to the ability to perform large-muscle, dynamic, moderate to high-intensity physical activity for a prolonged period, and depends on the cardiovascular, respiratory, and skeletal muscle systems. Regular physical activity and/or exercise that is tailored to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, such as walking, dancing, or cycling, has significant health benefits such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity (28). Benefits of regular physical activity and/or exercise also extend to mental health (29–31). In fact, research suggests aerobic exercise, which improves cardiorespiratory fitness, is an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia (32–36) through both physiological and psychological mechanisms, and may be comparable or superior to other common treatments, such as psychotherapy and pharmacology