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Study shows exercise could help treat depression!

Exercise and internet-based therapy should be considered for the treatment of mild to moderate depression in adults, according to research. Researchers in Sweden compared the long-term effectiveness of prescribed exercise and clinician-supported internet-based cognitive–behavioural therapy (ICBT) with that of usual care for patients who suffered mild to moderate depression. 

In total, 945 adults with depression aged 18–71 years were recruited from primary healthcare centres to take part in the study. Participants were assigned to one of three 12-week interventions: supervised group exercise, clinician-supported ICBT or usual care by a physician. Exercise consisted of three 60-minute sessions per week. ICBT involved patients working through online modules while being monitored by a supervising psychologist. The usual-care group received treatment at the discretion of their primary care provider. 

When the 12-week intervention ended questionnaires were sent to the participants after three and 12 months. Of the total number of patients, 740 (78%) returned the three-month questionnaire, and 797 (84%) returned the 12-month one. Using the Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale, a tool that measures the severity of depressive episodes, results showed that patients in all three groups experienced a reduction in depression severity. ICBT had the largest improvement, followed by exercise and then usual care. 

The research, which was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, concluded that the long-term treatment effects reported "suggest that prescribed exercise and clinician-supported ICBT should be considered for the treatment of mild to moderate depression in adults.”