Recently it was clinically confirmed that exercise can significantly reduce symptoms of depression. Since the release of such findings, researchers have explored the application of exercise as a means of reducing or even treating depression. Yoga has been trailed, with a positive outcome, reducing symptoms of depression in pregnant women, while brisk walking has been found to help elderly people overcome depression.
This latest research set out to establish if cardiovascular exercise such as swimming, cycling or running could help alleviate signs of depression in patients with heart disease.
Heart disease is a major cause of death in the developed world; it is the highest cause of death of all cardiovascular problems. It is reported that as may as 75 percent of heart disease sufferers also meet the criteria for a diagnosis of depression, with up to 40 percent meeting the criteria for major depression.
This is similar to the statistics of individuals being diagnosed with other chronic physical illnesses such as diabetes.
Due to the fact that depression is associated with a lack of adherence to taking medication and partaking in health promoting behaviours such as following a healthy diet, it is critical that depression is treated in tandem with the chronic physical condition.
The researchers recruited 2,322 patients from 82 medical canters from around America, Canada and France. Participants each participated in 90 minutes supervised exercise each week for 12 months. The symptoms of depression were compared at the end of the study with their symptoms from the start of the study and were compared to individuals who had the same treatment minus the supervised exercise sessions.
The results were reported to find that there was a modest reduction in symptoms of depression as a result of the inclusion of exercise into the treatment plan.