Exercise May Serve as an Antidepressant
A new study of nearly 18,000 participants found that those with high fitness at middle age were significantly less likely to die from heart disease in later life, even if they were diagnosed with depression.
Doctor's Tips: How to Stay Fit While Treating Depression
Dr. Madhukar Trivedi cites previous research showing that depressed patients can often perform about three-fourths of the exercise they're asked to do. He recommends patients take several steps to boost their chances of success:
- Set aside a consistent time to exercise every day, but do not get discouraged by stretches of inactivity. Resume activities as soon as possible.
- Keep a log to track progress.
- Vary the exercises to avoid monotony. Keep the workout interesting and fun.
- Exercise with a friend.
- Task someone with holding you accountable for maintaining the exercise regimen.
The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry utilized a Cooper Institute database of participants who had their cardiorespiratory fitness measured at an average age of 50 years. Researchers used Medicare administrative data to establish correlations between the participants' fitness at midlife to rates of depression and heart disease in older age. Among the findings, participants with high fitness were 56 percent less likely to eventually die from heart disease following a depression diagnosis.
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