Depression disappears faster due to less than an hour of strength training or cardio per week
Depressed patients recover faster if they not only use medication, but also exercise for half an hour twice a week. It doesn’t matter if they spend that half an hour on strength training or cardio training, Brazilian researchers from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro will soon report in Neuropsychobiology.
The Brazilians divided 25 depressed patients aged 60-81 into 3 groups. All test subjects received medication.
The first group did cardio training for half an hour twice a week for 12 weeks. Each workout consisted of a 5-minute warm-up, followed by 20 minutes of walking or cycling with an intensity of 70 percent of the maximum oxygen uptake.
The second group did strength training twice a week for half an hour. The subjects did the chest-press, the back-row, the leg extension and the leg curls on Technogym machines. For each exercise, the test subjects made 3 sets of weights with which they could make a maximum of 10-12 reps.
A control group did not train.
The depression disappeared [Remission] more often in the subjects who did strength training or cardio training than in the control group. The likelihood of a substantial decrease of the depressive symptoms [Response] was also greater among the subjects who combined their medication with training.
There was no difference between the effect of cardio training and that of strength training.
“Both strength and aerobic training combined with pharmacological treatment can contribute to an improved treatment response in elderly patients who suffer from major depressive disorder”, conclude the researchers.