Exercise may help fight depression in seniors: Study

Washington: Here’s another reason to add physical exercise to your daily routine. According to a recent study, exercising may help fight depression by stimulating muscle-generated mood boosters.

According to research, the underlying mechanisms that make us feel good when we exercise, persist into old age and highlight the importance of staying active.

“A previous study demonstrated these mechanisms in healthy young adults, however, it was unknown whether the muscle deterioration which accompanies aging would preclude older adults from achieving similar exercise-induced benefits.

This could have important implications concerning the use of exercise as a treatment or a preventative strategy for depression in seniors,” said David Allison, lead author on the study which was published in the American Journal of Physiology.

Muscle loss is a common problem in the elderly, which may restrict that pathway, and therefore increases the risk of mental depression, says Allison.

For the study, a group of healthy men, aged 65 and over, followed a 12-week protocol of high-intensity interval training on a stationary bike once a week combined with bi-weekly strength training sessions.

Researchers analyzed blood samples and changes to muscle and determined that three months of the exercise was enough to enhance gene expression within the skeletal muscle.

Lead researchers of the study suggested that even individuals who are already metabolically healthy–with good weight, good blood pressure, and blood sugar levels–need to prioritize regular physical activity to maintain or improve upon their mental health.


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