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Physical activity won’t chase the blues away for seniors

May 3, 2013
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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Although regular exercise is beneficial to the body, it is not effective in reducing depression in the elderly, say researchers at the University of Warwick and Queen Mary, University of London.

The study, published in The Lancet, recruited more than 1,000 residents from 78 care homes to determine the effects of exercise on depression. Participants attended two classes a week to perform moderately intensive exercises. The elders enjoyed the classes but results indicated that the exercise had no effect on depression or their quality of life.

Martin Underwood, MD, leader of the research team, commented: “We already know that antidepressants are effective for more severely depressed patients, while preventive strategies such as increased social engagement and psychological stimulation are promising but as yet unproven.”

While exercise is beneficial to health, researchers hope for future studies combining exercise with other interventions targeted at reducing depression.

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