In yesterday's post, when I wrote about the studies mentioned below, I thought that walking was the only exercise involved, but I was mistaken. So I stand corrected. Still, I am stunned by the results...
According to Psychology Matters, an online publication of the American Psychological Association, in a 1990 study in which a research team did an analysis of 80 studies of exercise and depression, they found, among other things, that "Exercise was a beneficial antidepressant both immediately and over the long term." In this study, walking and jogging were the most frequent forms of exercise tested.
In 1999, psychologist James Blumenthal, PhD, and colleagues at Duke University conducted a series of studies of using exercise (a treadmill and stationary bicycle) and medication for patients who were clinically depressed.
Some patients did aerobic exercise only, some took Zoloft, and the third group took Zoloft and participated in exercise. "After four and a half months of treatment, patients receiving any of these treatments were significantly less depressed. About two-thirds were no longer depressed."
What is most amazing to me is that in a follow-up study six months after the original one, psychologist Michael Babyak, Ph.D and his colleagues "found that patients who had been in the exercise group were more likely to be partially or fully recovered than those who were in the medication or medication plus exercise group." (For more specifics on this study, see the article on McMann's Depression and Bipolar Web.)
Are we getting this? Exercise by itself was more effective than medication alone, or exercise plus medication.