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Exercise and Depression

Welcome to the official Newsletter of Advanced Medical Care

Exercise Reduces Depression, Anxiety

and Suicide Attempts

The economic burden of depression in the United States is estimated to be over $210 billion annually. From a public health perspective, identifying an accessible, low cost approach to preventing depression is very important.

Exercise has long been established as effective in the treatment and prevention of depression and a recent umbrella review showed that all types of exercise were effective at relieving depression and anxiety (Br J Sports Med. 2023;doi:10.1136).

A recent meta-analysis showed that exercise significantly decreased suicide attempts (J Affect Disord. 2023).

But How Much Exercise is Needed?

What is perhaps less understood is how much exercise is needed. What is the correct dose of exercise to help depression and anxiety? The standard recomendation for adults is to get 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity, on at least 5 days per week.

The researchers wanted to know if this amount of exercise was necesary to prevent depression. To answer that question, the researchers followed over 4,000 adults, aged 50 years or older, to determine the minimal dose of moderate to vigorous physical activity needed to reduce the risk for depression. (JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(7))

Now, Thanks to This New Study,

We Have a Pretty Good Answer to That Question.

These researchers found out that a lower dose of exercises than the guidelines currently recommended does reduce risk for depression among older adults.

They found that older adults that exercised as little as 20 minutes a day (for 5 days a week) had a 43% lower odds of depression. This was the lowest exercise level that showed an association with reduced depression. Higher amounts of physical activity showed greater benefits, but lower amounts did not show any benefit.

What does this mean to you? If you want to help a depressed friend or family member, it doesn't take much exercise to make a difference. They can start low, and maybe increase later as they begin to feel better. If you are fighting your own depression and are finding it hard to motivate yourself to exercise, you should know, even a small amount of exercise will help. Force yourself to exercise now, and later it will get easier.

A very easy way to get started is to walk out your front door and follow your nose for 10 minutes, then turn around and head back. That will give you 20 minutes of moderate level aerobic exercise. Sometimes its hard to find a time to go for a walk. My wife and I used to take turns getting out of the car 1 or 2 miles before we got home, to squeeze a last minute walk into the day. Or when shopping we would park a few blocks away from the store, or at the very farthest corner of the parking lot, to get some extra walking in.

If you don't have time for a 20 minute walk, go for 5 or 10 minutes. Previous studies have shown you don't need to get all of the exercise at one time. You can do 2 or 3 shorter walks with the same benefit as one longer walk.

Remember This:

A small amount of walking and exercise has a big benefit for your mental and physical health. It takes more effort at first, but gets easier as you begin to feel better.

Take care and BE HEALTHY!

CW Jasper

August 2023

©2023· Content is Property Created by CW Jasper


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Gerald Hacker
Gerald Hacker

Thank you for this reflection. I find that when I am either running, walking, or hiking, I enjoy the feeling of being outside enjoying nature. A good hike in the woods does wonderful things for my well-being!



I shared this with my daughter who is helping a friend in depression. Hopefully it will help her.

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