Exercise improves symptoms of depressive disorder

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Exercise is good for all kinds of ailments and physical maladies, but it’s also good for mental health.

Now, due to new studies, there is sufficient data to provide guidance to healthcare providers prescribing exercise to their depressed patients.

“Despite the substantial evidence supporting the use of exercise in the treatment of MDD (major depressive disorder), previous studies have not provided a clear indication of the proper dose of exercise needed to elicit an antidepressant effect,” stated Chad Rethorst, PhD, and Madhukar Trivedi, MD, of the Department of Psychiatry at the university of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Their team reviewed existing data from randomized controlled trials with the goal of developing specific and detailed recommendations for doctors when prescribing exercise.

What, when and how long?

Since exercise is known to reduce symptoms of MDD, it meets the need for cost-effective and accessible alternative therapies for depressive disorders. Based on the data reviewed, aerobic exercise is the preferred form of exercise for patients with MDD. Resistance training also figured prominently in the study.

In terms of frequency and duration, the researchers recommend that patients participate in three to five sessions per week of about 45 to 60 minutes.

Some is better than none

“Taken as a whole, these findings suggest that exercise doses below the current recommendations may still be beneficial for patients with MDD,” Rethorst and Trivedi wrote. “Therefore, clinicians should encourage patients to engage in at least some exercise, even if they do not exercise enough to meet current public health recommendations.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal of Psychiatric Practice

 
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