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Aerobic Exercise Beneficial In Treating Depression

by Medindia Content Team on  February 3, 2005 at 3:22 PM Research News   - G J E 4
Aerobic Exercise Beneficial In Treating Depression
Researchers say aerobic exercise is just as good at beating mild to moderate depression as standard antidepressant medications. In a study comparing five different exercise programs for people with mild to moderate depression, there was a 50-percent reduction in depressive symptoms among those taking part in aerobic exercises like walking on a treadmill three to five times a week.
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The study involved 80 people with mild to moderate depression who were randomly assigned to take part in an aerobic exercise program either three or five days a week, a lower-intensity exercise program three or five days a week, or a program involving stretching exercises for 15 to 20 minute a day for three days a week. All of those who performed the aerobic exercises exercised for about 30 to 35 minutes during each session.

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After 12 weeks, people taking part in the aerobic exercise groups saw, on average, a 47-percent decline in depressive symptoms, which is similar to outcomes seen for people treated with antidepressants or cognitive therapy. Twelve percent of the group had a complete remission of symptoms. The other groups also saw a decline in depressive symptoms, but they were not considered statistically significant.

Thus researchers say exercise may offer a viable treatment alternative to treat depression as it can be recommended for most individuals.
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