[Paleopsych] BH: Exercise Nearly Halves Depression Symptoms
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Wed Jan 26 18:15:47 UTC 2005
Exercise Nearly Halves Depression Symptoms
Thirty minutes a day has same effect as some antidepressants and
1/25/2005 1:05 PM
Thirty minutes of daily exercise can cut depression symptoms as much
as some antidepressants and psychotherapy.
"The effect you find using aerobic exercise alone in treating clinical
depression is similar to what you find with antidepressant
medications," says Madhukar Trivedi of the University of Texas
Southwestern Medical Center, coauthor of a new study on the mental
benefits of physical activity. "The key is the intensity of the
exercise and continuing it for 30 to 35 minutes per day. It's not for
the faint of heart."
The study, which also involved researchers from the Cooper
Institute in Dallas and the Alberta Children's Hospital in Canada,
involved 80 people aged 20 to 45 who had mild to moderate depression.
Between July 1998 and October 2001, participants were randomly placed
into the following five groups:
* Moderately intense aerobics three days a week.
* Moderately intense aerobics five days a week.
* Lower-intensity aerobics three days a week.
* Lower-intensity aerobics five days a week.
* Stretching flexibility exercises 15 to 20 minutes three days per
Participants in both moderately intense aerobics groups, who did such
things as exercise on a treadmill, had an average 47% decline in
depressive symptoms after 12 weeks. Those in the low-intensity
exercise groups had a 30% reduction. Those in the stretching group had
a 29% decline.
The results, says Trivedi, are comparable to those from studies in
which people with mild to moderate depression were treated with
antidepressants or cognitive therapy.
The researchers are planning a follow-up study combining aerobic
exercise and antidepressant treatment.
The research is reported in the American Journal of Preventive
Medicine (read abstract).
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