Jumping on that treadmill or bike is not only good for one’s health, but also can help significantly reduce depression, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.
The first study to look at exercise alone in treating mild to moderate depression in adults aged 20 to 45 showed that depressive symptoms were reduced almost 50 percent in individuals who participated in 30-minute aerobic exercise sessions three to five times a week.
The results, published in the January issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, are comparable to results from studies in which patients with mild to moderate depression were treated with antidepressants or cognitive therapy, said Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, professor of psychiatry and director of UT Southwestern’s mood disorders research program. "The effect you find using aerobic exercise alone in treating clinical depression is similar to what you find with antidepressant medications," said Dr. Trivedi, a study author and holder of the Lydia Bryant Test Professorship in Psychiatric Research. "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."
Donna Steph Hansard | EurekAlert!
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