Exercise Helps Heart Patients With Depression

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Oct 24, 2012

Mind-Body-Spirit News

For heart disease patients who also struggle with depression, exercise may offer as much relief from depressive symptoms as do prescription drugs, say researchers from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

Researchers wanted to compare the effectiveness of exercise and antidepressant medications for alleviating depression, which is fairly common in people with heart disease. Scientists recruited 101 patients for a 4-month randomized, controlled trial. One group attended exercise sessions three times per week for a total of 90 minutes; another took Zoloft®; and a third group took a placebo pill.

Both exercise and medication led to a reduction in depressive symptoms. Patients who participated in exercise, however, had less fatigue and fewer sexual problems than those on prescription drugs. Study authors recommended further research. The findings appeared in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2012; doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2012.04.040).

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About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at www.shirleyarcher.com.