How to Beat the Blues with Exercise!

Last week we provided an overview of How to Beat the Blues! Get Your Body Involved.  This week, here's a broad review of some of the research and current thought about exercise and depression - it's pretty exciting stuff!

In 1999, a Duke University study with 156 older patients diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder found that taking a

  • brisk 30-minute walk or
  • jog around the track

was just as effective in relieving the symptoms of major depression as the standard treatment of anti-depressant medications, specifically, Zoloft. Click here to access the research.

In a follow-up study, Duke University found that study participants that continued to exercise, at the 10-month mark, were significantly less likely to have a recurrence of depression - and many no longer had depression symptoms.

Dr. Ratey, the author of Spark, on a YouTube lecture talks about exercise and depression, starting with Hippocrates who had the perfect prescription:

If you're in a bad mood, go for a walk.
If you're still in a bad mood, go for another walk.

In other words, Dr. Ratey suggests, if you're in a bad mood, keeping moving, keep walking...


CNN featured Dr. Jane Erb, of Brigham and Women's Hospital with a  video (below), The effects of Exercise on Depression (or the brief is Health Minute: Depression and Exercise)

Dr. Erb cites the importance of "keep moving" to offset the symptoms of depression while also noting research published in the journal Cell that found that mice specially bred to contain high levels of a chemical released with exercise were less likely to become depressed when stressed.

Dr. Samuel Harvey's, of the Kings College in London, (click the "Tonic" video clip below) research with a large Norwegian population found that those that were more actively engaged in exercise during their leisure time were less likely to experience depression.

Further, they found that inactive individuals were 70 - 80% more likely to be feeling depressed than their counter-parts who were exercising three hours or more, per week.

Even more surprising to me, the intensity of the work outs - i.e. walking vs. a high aerobic workout - had little impact on whether or not someone experienced depression.  As such, it seems movement and activity, not the rigor of the exercise, at least in this study, was the more critical counter to depression - especially if you were exercising during your leisure time.

I don't know about you, but this information left me eager to get back into my exercise routine!

Here's to Beating the Blues with Exercise!

Have a Great Week!
The Mind Body Whisperer 
- Dedicated to Helping You Optimize for Your Favorite Sport and Pain-Free Living!

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