Regular physical activities, which include moderate exercises, have been recognized as a safe and effective tool of treating depression, along with the other accepted modes of therapy. But more than its therapeutic value, moderate exercises and other physical activities may help in the prevention of depression later in life. This is according to the results of an extensive review completed recently and which was published in the medical journal the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Review of Clinical Trials for the Past 26 Years
With the objective of determining the role exercise plays in the maintenance of good mental health and the prevention of depression later in life, George Mammen, with the assistance of Professor Guy Faulkner of the University of Toronto in Canada undertook an extensive review of previous related studies. Clinical studies done for the past 26 years were reviewed by the research team. Given focus by the research team were studies involving physical activities ranging from low level exercises to high impact routines.
Regular Exercise May Help Prevent Onset of Depression in Later Life
After a thorough assessment of the data gathered, the researchers were able to find that regular exercises, even at low levels, may have a significant impact in the prevention of the onset of depression in later life. Low level activities that have been shown to be beneficial including walking and gardening for 20 to 30 minutes per day.
Significance of Outcome of Study
The outcome of this review is very significant, coming as it is at a time when mental health providers are looking beyond the treatment phase and more on the prevention of this common mental disorder. Mental health experts are fully aware that treating depression can be very costly especially with the expensive prescription medications. This has been a burden to the individual patient as well as the health system.
According to Professor Faulkner, now more than ever, there is a need for a prevention strategy to address this problem. Focus should be shifted from treatment to looking for way to fend of depression from the start.
Management of Depression
It should be pointed out that engaging in physical activities is just one of the several ways to manage depression. There are other factors that will contribute either in the treatment or prevention of this major health problem. Very vital in all these is the support of the family and the need for counseling with the proper mental health providers.