Exercise Fights Depression

The American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry says 15 percent of people over 65 have symptoms of depression that interfere with their physical, mental and emotional health. Researchers at the University of Washington say mature adults with significant depression have healthcare costs 50 percent higher than those without it. The World Health Organization says that by next year, depression will be the second leading cause of premature death and disability around the world. The good news? Research proves that exercise:Improves mood
Reduces anxiety
Increases the ability to handle stress
Improves sleep Scientists at the Duke University Medical Center tested exercise against antidepressants in 156 outpatients 50 and older. The two treatments worked about the same in eliminating symptoms, and exercise was better than medication in keeping depression from recurring. A Connection to Heart Disease Depression brings a higher risk of heart disease. Exercise improves fitness, of course, and helps lower the risk of both, according to a study published in the JAMA Network. “Depression doesn’t exist in a vacuum,” said Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, who wrote the report. “Especially for people who are older, depression has a complicated relationship with other major medical diseases.” Among the findings:
Fit people are 16 percent less likely to develop depression.
Fit people are 61 percent less likely to die from heart disease.
Even among people with depression, those who are fit have a 56 percent lower risk of dying from heart-related problems. “Exercise not only reduces your risk of heart disease but also improves your depression, so I really see it as a bonafide treatment related to depression,” said Trivedi. “I want primary care physicians to prescribe not only antidepressants but also prescribe a dose of exercise for the treatment of depression.”

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