Exercise Doesn't Fight Depression

Prof: Findings a 'huge disappointment'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2012 8:23 AM CDT
Exercise Doesn't Fight Depression
Exercise may not fight depression, according to a new study.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – New findings are challenging accepted wisdom about exercise. For some children, it's little help against obesity; now we learn that it may not fend off depression, either. In a study, British researchers compared some 361 patients, all of whom received standard depression treatments but only some of whom were given extra guidance on exercise. The results after a year were the same for both groups: patients had improved regardless of increased activity, the BBC reports.

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In short, the study finds "not that exercise isn't good for you ... but it's not good for treating people with what was actually quite severe depression," says a researcher. "That buzz we all get from moderate intensity of exercise is certainly acknowledged, but it's not sustained, and it's not appropriate for treating people with depression." But a public-health expert has a few caveats: "These were patients already on medication," he notes, so the study "considers exercise on top of medical care. It did not look at mild depression nor did it consider exercise as an alternative to medication." (Read more exercise stories.)

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