"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Some chronic diseases require less exercise to combat depression

A little bit exercise could be very helpful in fighting depression in people over 50 with chronic illnesses which are often related to depression, in accordance with a latest study.

Just 20 minutes of moderate activity a day, five days per week, can significantly reduce symptoms of depression in older individuals with conditions corresponding to diabetes, heart disease and chronic pain, in accordance with the study published this week in JAMA network opened.

Meanwhile, study participants without chronic illness needed to perform more intense exercise over longer periods of time to see an improvement in depressive symptoms, lead writer Eamon Laird of the University of Limerick in Ireland told CNN.

These people need two hours of moderate to vigorous exercise a day, Laird said.

What does “moderate” mean? It normally means physical activity so strenuous you can barely speak – corresponding to cycling, playing tennis, and brisk walking. “Vigorous” means running or other more intense physical activity that increases respiration and heart rate.

“We are not advocating a reduction in activity levels in any population, but these results suggest that even lower doses than recommended may protect the mental health of older adults over time,” Laird said. “These doses may be easier to achieve because many older adults find it difficult to be physically active for a variety of reasons.”

The study examined information from greater than 4,000 participants within the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Data were collected from October 2009 to December 2018 and analyzed last summer.

More time spent exercising produced higher results, the study says. Two hours a day produced the best profit, with a 23% reduction in symptoms and a 49% reduction in major depression.

“The higher the dose of physical activity, the greater the mental health benefits for depression,” Laird said.