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News of Fitness: Exercise Treats Depression

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What is the best way to treat depression?

It is not a pill.

It is exercise!

Although almost 19 million Americans are thought to suffer from depressive disorders. Researchers may have a way to help. In a study, which involved 80 adults aged 20 to 45 years who were diagnosed with mild to moderate depression, researchers looked at exercise alone to treat the condition and found:

1. Depressive symptoms were cut almost in half in those individuals who participated in 30-minute aerobic exercise sessions, three to five times a week after 12 weeks. 2. Those who exercised with low-intensity for three and five days a week showed a 30 percent reduction in symptoms.

3. Participants who did stretching flexibility exercises 15 to 20 minutes three days a week averaged a 29 percent decline. The results of this study are similar to that of other studies, which involved patients with mild or moderate depression being treated with antidepressants or cognitive therapy — proving patients need not rely on drugs to treat depression.

Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine January 2005; 28(1): 1-8

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