Exercise your troubles away
- The amount of exercise that is recommended for general public health is also an effective treatment for depression, Andrea L. Dunn, Ph.D., reported at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society.
Despite many intervention studies suggesting that exercise alleviates symptoms of depression, it still isn't recognized in the same way as medication and psychotherapy as an efficacious treatment for depressive illness. Indeed, only one previous study had met the standard, a 50% reduction in symptoms during the acute phase (6-12 weeks) of treatment (Arch. Intern. Med. 1999; 159:2349-56).
But in that randomized trial, the exercise was done in a group setting, so the social support may have contributed to the 50% drop in symptoms. “In order for exercise to be an accepted monotherapy for depression, we must clarify issues of dose response,” noted Dr. Dunn, now a research scientist at Klein Buendel Inc., in Golden, Colo.
Halting Exercise Can Increase Symptoms of Depression
- Regular exercisers who are forced to stop may experience depressive symptoms, Ali A. Berlin reported at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society.
The findings of a study of 40 regular exercisers do not suggest that stopping exercise will induce clinical depression in otherwise healthy people. However, previous research with athletes who were forced to stop exercising because of injury or illness suggested levels of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders were increased and recovery was slower among those who already had depressive symptoms.