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Why depression treatments should include exercise

ISLAMABD: After assessing numerous specialist studies, a new review concludes that exercise can help to both prevent depression and treat its symptoms. However, current treatments for depression often fail to include this lifestyle adjustment, despite the strong evidence.

A new review of the specialist literature emphasizes the need to add exercise to recommendations for the treatment of depression.

Both anecdotal and scientific evidence has suggested that physical activity can be a great ally in fending off or fighting the symptoms of depression, which affects around 40 millionadults in the United States each year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

“The evidence of the use of exercise [for the management of depression] is substantial and growing fast,” write Felipe Barretto Schuch, from the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria in Brazil, and Brendon Stubbs, from King’s College London in the United Kingdom.

Schuch and Stubbs have recently conducted a review of the literature looking at the effects of exercise on the risk and symptoms of depression.

In their paper — which now features in Current Sports Medicine Reports — they conclude that exercise is indeed an effective “medicine” against depression in most cases.

The authors also found that many programs dedicated to treating depression do not include exercise in their list of recommendations for the prevention and treatment of the condition.

Typically, specialists will recommend antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy for managing clinical depression. The authors of the current review argue that diversifying the approach even more — by suggesting physical activity as a lifestyle adjustment — could boost the effectiveness of therapy.

“Some guidelines have incorporated [physical activity] and exercise as recommended therapeutic strategies for depression while others have not,” Schuch and Stubbs write.

“Despite this acknowledgment, [physical activity] still appears to not receive the deserved attention, and its use in clinical practice is not of equitable value to the more dominant strategies, such as pharmacotherapy and psychotherapies,” they note.

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