Accessibility View Close toolbar

721 E Main Street

Niles, MI 49120 US

(269) 683-5433

Open mobile navigation

Exercise and Wellness

Exercise has a Long Lasting Effect on Depression

Picture

 
After demonstrating that 30 minutes of brisk exercise three times a week is just as effective as drug therapy in relieving the symptoms of major depression in the short term, medical center researchers have now shown that continued exercise greatly reduces the chances of the depression returning.

Last year, the Duke researchers reported on their study of 156 older patients diagnosed with major depression which, to their surprise, found that after 16 weeks, patients who exercised showed statistically significant and comparable improvement relative to those who took anti-depression medication, or those who took the medication and exercised.

The new study, which followed the same participants for an additional six months, found that patients who continued to exercise after completing the initial trial were much less likely to see their depression return than the other patients. Only 8 percent of patients in the exercise group had their depression return, while 38 percent of the drug-only group and 31 percent of the exercise-plus-drug group relapsed.

"The important conclusion is that the effectiveness of exercise seems to persist over time, and that patients who respond well to exercise and maintain their exercise have a much smaller risk of relapsing," said lead researcher, Duke psychologist James Blumenthal, who published the results of his team's study in the October issue of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The researchers are now using a new $3 million NIH grant to better understand the subtle factors that may explain the positive effects of exercise in a new trial that begins enrolling patients this month.

"We found that there was an inverse relationship between exercise and the risk of relapsing - the more one exercised, the less likely one would see their depressive symptoms return," Blumenthal explained. "For each 50-minute increment of exercise, there was an accompanying 50 percent reduction in relapse risk.

"Findings from these studies indicate that a modest exercise program is an effective and robust treatment for patients with major depression," he continued. "And if these motivated patients continue with their exercise, they have a much better chance of not seeing their depression return."

Researchers were surprised that the group of patients who took the medication and exercised did not respond as well as those who only exercised.

"We had assumed that exercise and medication together would have had an additive effect, but this turned out not to be the case," Blumenthal said. "While we don't know the reasons for this, some of the participants were disappointed when they found out they were randomized to the exercise and medication group. To some extent, this 'anti-medication' sentiment may have played a role by making patients less excited or enthused about their combined exercise and medication program."

He suggested that exercise may be beneficial because patients are actually taking an active role in trying to get better.

"Simply taking a pill is very passive," he said. "Patients who exercised may have felt a greater sense of mastery over their condition and gained a greater sense of accomplishment. They may have felt more self-confident and competent because they were able to do it themselves, and attributed their improvement to their ability to exercise."

Once patients start feeling better, they tend to exercise more, which makes them feel even better, Blumenthal said. The greatest risk for these patients, since they are older, would be to suffer an injury or illness that would interrupt their exercise routine, he added.

While the researchers enrolled middle-aged and elderly people in their study, Blumenthal said it is logical to assume that the results would hold true for the general population, since older people tend to have additional medical problems or infirmities that might make regular exercise more difficult than for younger patients.

Researchers used the anti-depressant sertraline (trade name Zoloft), which is a member of a class of commonly used anti-depressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).

Blumenthal cautioned that the study did not include patients who were acutely suicidal or had what is termed psychotic depression. Also, since patients were recruited by advertisements, these patients were motivated to get better and interested in exercise.

The research team included, from Duke, Michael Babyak, Steve Herman, Parinda Khatri, Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, Kathleen Moore, Teri Baldewicz and Dr. Ranga Krishnan. Edward Craighead, from the University of Colorado at Boulder also participated.

-Duke University Study
http://today.duke.edu/2000/09/...

Standard Process Nutrition Response

Dr. Foti offers a complimentary NRT session (Nutrition Response Testing) for all new patients.

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Thursday:

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonials

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Dr. Foti takes the time to find out what is going on without any pressure. He truly cares about his patients, and has 18 years of experience to meet your needs."
    Jennifer F. / Niles, MI

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • Holiday Stress - Take a Deep Breath

    Most of us pay little attention, if any, to the daily functioning of our many physiological systems. Our hearts beat, our digestive systems digest, and our various hormones, such as those deriving from the thyroid gland, adrenal gland, and pancreas, do what they do. It's all good... until it's not. ...

    Read More
  • Proper Overindulgence Over the Holidays

    Proper Overindulgence Over The Holidays The term "overindulgence" is probably best assessed as a red flag, especially with respect to consistent overconsumption of high-calorie comfort food and desserts during the holiday season. An overall healthier perspective could be described as "indulgence" regarding ...

    Read More
  • The 5 Senses

    The 5 Senses The five senses, that is, the sense of sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell, provide us with necessary information regarding the world around us.1 These precious capabilities enable us to navigate our environment with seemingly instantaneous feedback with reference to our actions and ...

    Read More
  • The Benefits of Sleep for Adults

    Obtaining sufficient restful sleep is an essential requirement for optimal human productivity. Such a practice is a key component of a healthy lifestyle, which includes a nutritious diet, regular vigorous exercise, and a positive mental attitude. How much sleep one needs varies from person to person. ...

    Read More
  • Back to School and Mental Wellness

    Summer is a subjectively fleeting season and school days are upon us once again. For children, this bittersweet time marks the completion of a period of relative freedom and the beginning of a new set of responsibilities. For adults, the onset of late summer and early fall signals yet another turn of ...

    Read More
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries

    A repetitive motion injury (or overuse injury) involves doing an action over and over again, as with a baseball pitcher throwing a baseball, a tennis player hitting a tennis ball, typing at a computer keyboard, and most notoriously, typing with your thumbs on the tiny keypad of your phone. It may be ...

    Read More
  • Left-Handers Day

    Left-Handers Day Left-Handers Day, celebrated on August 15th, was launched in 1992 by the Left-Handers Club, an organization based in the United Kingdom. Since then, Left-Handers Day has become a worldwide event and social media phenomenon. Around the world, approximately one in ten persons is left-handed. ...

    Read More
  • Peak Experiences

    Peak Experiences The American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau roamed far and wide over the hills and mountains of his native Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire. In his masterwork, "Walden," Thoreau famously stated that we must "reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical ...

    Read More
  • Dynamic Warm-ups

    In a common occurrence, you bend over to pick up the pencil you inadvertently dropped on the floor. Or you bend over to pick up the soap bar that has slipped through your fingers in the shower. Or you bend over to lift a bag of groceries out of your automobile trunk. These are all daily events. But on ...

    Read More
  • Summer Sports

    Summer Sports In the summertime, everyone's thoughts turn to the outdoors. We want to get out in the sun and have some fun. Some people do exercise outdoors, such as running, walking, and biking, all year long regardless of the weather.1 For others, summer's warmer temperatures make activity outside ...

    Read More

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Sign up for more articles