The Drug-Free Depression Cure
Posted March 21, 2012on:
by Kiera Aaron August 30, 2011, 02:30 am EDT
“About 70 percent of people on medication will still have signs of depression,” explains study author Madhukar Trivedi, M.D., professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “One treatment usually leads to improvement, not remission.”
In the study, 28 percent of people who worked out on a treadmill or stationary bike for 30 to 45 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week eliminated their symptoms. When another group exercised 2 to 3 times a week for 20 to 30 minutes, 16 percent saw symptoms disappear. “When we compared to other studies, we even found that exercise was just as effective as taking an additional medication,” says Dr. Trivedi.
This was especially true for men. Researchers found that men had a very low remission rate when they exercised only a little, but a high rate when they exercised a lot. (Women were less polarized.)
Researchers aren’t quite sure why depressed men need more exercise, but it certainly effects your hormones. “Exercise releases serotonin, which can help reduce symptoms of depression,” explains Dr. Trivedi. “We think that the feeling of accomplishment plays a role, too.”
If you’re feeling low, sign up for a 5K to boost both your serotonin and confidence, or better yet, try the Men’s Health Urbanathlon in a city near you. Just be sure to keep exercising after the race.
Trivedi also notes that exercise can’t replace a doctor when it comes to depression treatment. “Think of it like diabetes,” he says. “You’d eat right, but you’d still go for check-ups.”