Often I hear it: A friend kneeling that her race practice refuses the attacks of the bad spirit. The other says that going to the gym before the work keeps him mentally stable.
You may have heard similar stories; You might believe in it yourself.
These anecdotes indicate some questions. Is there evidence that supports the idea that exercise can have an effect on depression? If so, how many exercises? A number of research has been done to answer these questions and others.
One study awarded participants, 202 adults in depression for at least 40 years, into one of four groups. One group attended group exercises under supervision three times a week, where they monitored the number of heartbeats while walking or running on the running track for 30 minutes. The other group received similar instructions, but they are left to work for themselves at home. Groups of three and four took pills: either an antidepressant drug sertraline or a placebo.
After 16 weeks, the researchers examined participants for depression and found that 45% of people in the controlled group no longer met the criteria for major depression. In other groups, 40% of home exercise workers, 47% of those taking medication and 31% of placebo pills were no longer depressed.
Thus, supervised practitioners were doing the same thing as people who took the antidepressant. However, promising that these results were, was a small study.
James Blumenthal, a psychologist at Duke University who co-wrote the paper, says there are a number of studies that, like his, support the idea that exercise can be useful in treating depression. Like his, most of the studies are small. "There are no large, multicentre clinical trials," he says, which is typical of studies on medicines funded by pharmaceutical companies.
There are also design experiment problems, says Chad Rethorst, a researcher at the University of Texas at the Southwestern Medical Center. "What is the state of the control of comparison?" Placebo pills prevent people from knowing whether they are getting medication or not; it's hard to think of a placebo situation for exercise.
Nevertheless, a number of scientists combined the results of many small studies to determine if the overall effect could be described. These overviews generally have a small to moderate effect of exercise in research studies. How is this evidence translated into the real world?
"Every depression treatment works for some people, but not for everyone," Blumental says. This also applies to medication, to therapy and to exercise exercises.
Depressive patients, by the nature of their condition, are not motivated, says Rethorst, so engaging in a new and challenging activity can be difficult.
Practitioners of mental health will probably mention exercises, along with other healthy behaviors such as sleeping, to their patients, even when prescribing talk therapy or medication as the main treatments. But it's not clear how many psychologists or psychiatrist actually copy the exercise as a treatment.
Some practitioners advocate for exercises.
Antonia Baum, a psychiatrist in private practice in Bethesda, says: "I'm always taking a history of exercising with my patients." Regarding the launch and holding of the exercise program, she will speak through the basics and help people find the activity they will enjoy.
"You need to find a way that is sustainable," she says.
A 2015 study showed that most depressed patients would be interested in trying out an "exercise program designed to improve mood."
Rethorst examined the studies to find guidelines for service providers how to overwrite the exercises, including what types of exercises, frequency, intensity, duration, and how to help people keep the program.
How many exercises? Research shows that at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity – walking, running or cycling – per week. Conveniently, this is in line with public health guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Several studies have found positive effects with resistance training or exercise based on weight, but there is more evidence for aerobic activity.
For people who may want to practice as a treatment for a bad mood or depression, Rethorst says it is still wise to seek the help of practitioners.
"Optimal clinical practice will include regular monitoring of symptoms, as well as the initiation of any treatment plan," he says. Symptoms worsen can lead to different or additional treatments.
In other words, do not do the exercise alone. If you are really depressed, you need treatment and control. For example, practice does not always work. You may be at risk of not being ready for other treatments if you do not see a type of physician.
Also, maintaining a training program is not easy – it's time-consuming and it's common to lose motivation at some point. Helping social support by joining a group or some kind of class can help. Baum says he sees his patients regularly often, often and weekly, that he can check and encourage people to stick to it.
Blumenthal says he sees good adherence to exercise by participants in his studies. But, he adds: "We do a lot of tracking. The aspect of responsibility can be critical. "
You may need patience. "Benefits occur within six to eight weeks – not immediately," says Blumental. "Medi are working faster."
And of course, exercise is good for many other aspects of your health. "I believe in the exercise personally and in my practice," says Baum. "I support his useful efforts."