- A new paper analyzing data from 41 studies found that exercise had a significant impact on depression.
- Researchers have found that exercise improves symptoms of depression at least as much as other treatments.
- They said exercise should be offered as an “evidence-based treatment option” for patients.
It has long been known that exercise improves mood and offers many other health benefits, but new research suggests it should be considered a serious treatment option for depression. suggests.
The paper, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in February, looked at data from 41 papers that followed 2,264 people with depression to see how exercise affected their symptoms. found that the effect of exercise on depression was large enough that it should be offered as an ‘evidence-based treatment option’ for this disease.
Current guidelines by organizations such as the World Health Organization say that exercise can be added to treatments such as treatments and medications. But Felipe Schuch, a professor at the University of Santa Maria in Brazil and the lead author of the study, told The Washington Post that the data showed that drugs and talk therapy are routinely prescribed for depression today. He said it showed that exercise produced “slightly better” results than other treatments.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine study was a meta-analysis, drawing on data from many other studies to draw stronger conclusions about the effects of exercise on depression, using many patient groups from different countries. means collected. The researchers said their findings were the largest study to date on the effects of exercise on depression and depressive symptoms.
Scientists say more research is needed before exercise can be considered a “first-line treatment” for depression, recommended on a par with psychotherapy and medication, rather than an add-on treatment as it is currently considered. I added that there is.
Researchers from research institutes such as the University of Potsdam in Germany, the University of Santa Maria in Brazil and the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom say future studies need to examine whether exercise has long-term benefits. increase. Long-term treatment and whether it is not a good treatment for certain groups.
The studies they reviewed included participants willing and able to exercise, and excluded individuals for whom exercise might pose a risk because of pre-existing health problems. They added that high levels of exercise are not available.
All types of exercise can help, but certain types of exercise are more effective in treating depression than others
The studies the researchers looked at included many different types of exercise, from walking to weight training.
All types of exercise helped improve symptoms as measured by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory, two standard tests that measure the severity of depressive symptoms in patients. But certain things were especially effective.
Aerobic exercise and strength training, as well as supervised group exercise at “moderate intensity,” were significantly more effective in reducing symptoms of depression, the authors note.
A 2021 study by researchers at the University of Gothenburg suggested that consistent exercise of any kind can help with symptoms such as depression and anxiety. His 2018 study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found that strength training, like aerobic exercise, can help treat depression.
The authors of a recent paper say their analysis provides evidence that exercise is a possible treatment option for a large number of people with depression, especially those who cannot use medication or psychotherapy as treatments. .
They added that updated guidelines for treatment of depression and routine clinical decisions should take into account the findings of the study.
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