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Nancy Schimelpfening

Exercise Can Help Depression in Those With Chronic Illness

By February 7, 2012

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If you have a chronic illness and are battling depression, exercise may be just what you need to lift your mood, according to University of Alabama, Birmingham researchers.

For the study, Matthew Herring and his team examined 90 previous studies of 10,500 sedentary patients with chronic illness.  Each study included people who had been randomly assigned to either an exercise group or a non-exercise group.  In addition, the study participants had had their depression levels measured both before and after exercise.

The researchers found that those who engaged in exercise - which included such as activities as jogging, cycling and resistance training - had a 22% reduction in their depression symptoms.  Those who exercised either at least 150 minutes at a moderate intensity or at least 75 minutes at a vigorous intensity had even greater improvements.  The patients who received the greatest benefit from exercise were those who had mild to moderate depression and for whom exercise improved their ability to function.

Based upon these results, Herring suggests that exercise can be recommended as a potential low-risk treatment for depression in those suffering from chronic illness.

The article was published in January 23, 2012 issue of Archives of General Medicine.

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