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Supervised Aerobic Exercise May Help Ease Depression

We usually think of depression as psychological, but previous research has associated exercise with depression relief. Now a recent study suggests that supervised aerobic exercise may have antidepressant effects for people with major depression.


Researchers from the University of Thessaly, in Greece examined data from 11 studies that included a total of 455 people between the ages of 18 and 65 with major depression as a primary disorder. Supervised aerobic exercise was performed for an average 45 minutes, at moderate intensity, three times per week, for 9.2 weeks.


After analyzing the data, the researchers found that aerobic exercise was associated with a moderate-to-large antidepressant effect in the trials with lower risk of bias. They also found large antidepressant effects in the trials with short-term interventions (up to 4 weeks) and trials in which participants could do their preferred exercise.


A closer look at the data found comparable effects for aerobic exercise in a variety of settings and delivery formats, as well as in both outpatients and inpatients, regardless of symptom severity.


The study was published on October 18, 2018, in Depression and Anxiety.


Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week for maximum cardiovascular benefits. Aerobic exercise can be added to your routine either as a set workout time or by adding more walking and other movement to your day.

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