The antidepressant effect of physical exercise has been reported in several clinical and animal studies. Since serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine play a central role in depression, it is possible that the beneficial effects of physical exercise are mediated via monoamine pathways. This study investigates the effects of voluntary wheel running on the excitability of monoamine neurons. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were used in the study. Voluntary wheel running (VWR) rats were housed in individual cages with free access to a running wheel, while control animals were housed in standard laboratory cages. After three weeks, the rats were anesthetized, and in vivo electrophysiological recordings were taken from dorsal raphe nucleus serotonin neurons, locus coeruleus norepinephrine neurons, and ventral tegmental dopamine neurons. VWR stimulated activity in serotonin, but not in norepinephrine or dopamine neurons. Subsequently, acute administration of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor escitalopram in control rats led to complete suppression of serotonin neurons; this suppression was reversed by subsequent administration of selective antagonist of serotonin-1A receptors, WAY100135. Escitalopram induced only partial inhibition of serotonin neurons in the VWR rats while WAY100135 increased the firing activity of serotonin neurons above the baseline value. The beneficial effect of physical exercise on mood is mediated, at least in part, via activation of serotonin neurons. Physical exercise can potentiate the response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors by increasing the basal firing activity and diminishing selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor-induced inhibition of serotonin neurons.