LivingExercise, the best antidepressant

Exercise, the best antidepressant

Maintaining a healthy life and taking care of yourself through regular physical activity has always been a recommended attitude to maintain good physical health. But a new study by the University of Texas Southwest and the Cooper Institute seems to point that it also has great benefits for mental health.

Research of 18,000 participants indicates that people who engaged in regular physical activity in middle age were less likely to die from heart problems later in life, even if they had been diagnosed with depression .

Research highlights the different ways depression can affect health and mortality. It also addresses one of the most common dilemmas in patients: how to draw strength and motivation to exercise when battling depression. Regarding this, Doctor Madhukar Trivedi stated that a depression patient could do about three-quarters of the recommended exercise and recommends taking measures that facilitate the process: establish enough time to exercise per day and comply with it despite the lack of desire , keep track of the progress made, change the activities carried out to avoid monotony or do them with a friend.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry , employed a subject base whose cardiorespiratory fitness had been measured at age 50. Administrative data from Medicare was used to create correlations between the physical condition of the subjects at that age and rates of depression and heart problems at an older age. The results revealed that the fittest subjects were 56% less likely to die from a heart problem after suffering from depression.

Dr Trivedi states that ‘the results are just as relevant for younger people’ , especially for ‘young adults entering the job market’ . It is at this time when there is usually a abandonment of physical exercise because it is not related to the activities of educational institutions and new obligations. “The sooner you start practicing constant physical exercise, the better chances you will have of preventing depression, which in the long term will help reduce the risk of heart problems” says the Doctor.

Other problems caused by depression

Depression is related to other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes , obesity or chronic kidney problems that, according to studies, could be reduced with antidepressants. Exercise is shown as a more appropriate option for these treatments. In addition, this improvement generated by exercise could be due to the benefits that physical activity causes in general health, such as reducing inflammation, which would also reduce the risk of depression and heart problems.

‘In medicine there is a basic principle that you should not take a medication if it is not necessary. Being active and receiving psychotherapy are possibly the best treatments, especially in young patients who do not suffer from severe depression, ‘recommends Trivedi.

With the new results obtained, which join other studies previously carried out, we conclude that maintaining a healthy exercise habit and the connection between mind and body seem more related than previously thought. This type of research highlights the importance of exercise in maintaining good health.

Referencia: Benjamin L. Willis, David Leonard & Carolyn E. Barlow. ‘Association of Midlife cardiorespiratory fitnes with incident depression and cardiovascular death after depression in later life. JAMA Psychiatry, Junio de 2018. Doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.1467

Referencia: Benjamin L. Willis, David Leonard & Carolyn E. Barlow. ‘Association of Midlife cardiorespiratory fitnes with incident depression and cardiovascular death after depression in later life. JAMA Psychiatry, Junio de 2018. Doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.1467

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