Exercise Program Treating Depression In Elderly

Depression is a problem through which a lot of individuals are going through and that if we see around ourselves, we will see that there are a lot of individuals who are going through the feeling of depression and it is something that is eating them up really bad and these individuals just slowly shut themselves up and just go through isolating themselves from their surroundings. This negative behavior just makes the people go through a lot of misery inside them and it is just that they do not share and are not involving themselves into any activity. The community that is getting really affected from the clutches of depression are the elderly and in this article we are going to discuss as to how beneficial the exercise is to treat the depression. It has also been found that the middle aged and the elderly group also seem to get a whole lot benefit in their cognitive abilities through exercise.

Another very important finding that was seen through the exercise therapy was the significant improvement in the higher mental processes of memory and the functions that are termed as the executive functions, which include planning, organization, and multi-tasking of different tasks at one time. Therefore it was seen that the exercise not only lifts the depression but also brings a great deal of improvement in the higher mental processes and that is really an amazing benefit that the individuals can get from exercising. The researchers also added that the regions of the brain where they found true effectiveness of exercise were the frontal and the pre-frontal regions. The researchers also found that there were also benefits in the attention, concentration and the psychomotor skills.

The researchers added that with exercise there might be improvement in the decline in the cognitive functioning that is most commonly associated with the process of aging and that this is something that will need further studies to clarify this process and there will be definitely studies conducted to see the relationship of the effects of exercise on the cognitive functioning of the elderly. They said that along with seeing the cognitive benefits, it is also very important to see as to what are the different mechanisms that are involved in this process. Since the exact nature of the cause of improvement is not clear, it is believed by the researchers that this improvement might be because of the improved flow of oxygen rich blood to the specific regions of the brain.

The researchers said that they know that the exercise in general improves the ability of the heart to pump the blood and that it improves the contractility of the heart and it also increases the capacity of the blood to carry the oxygen. It was also linked to the said fact that that is why the elderly individuals have improved functioning because the blood flow as well as the oxygen carrying capacity increases to the brain and this is considered to be the cause of rapid improvement in the cognitive functions and health in the elderly individuals. The researchers added that since exercise improves the blood circulation to the muscles and improves the function of the muscles, as well as the tone, so it is thought that it can also have the similar effects on the brain.

There was a study that was conducted on exercise and depression, which is known as SMILE, which is an abbreviation of Standard Medical Intervention and Long-term Exercise. In this study the researchers have followed about 156 patients who were of the ages between 50 and 77 who were diagnosed with major depressive disorder, which is also known as MDD. These individuals were divided into different groups in which one group was doing exercise, the other was on the medication and another group was on a combination of medication and exercise. The exercise group was the one who were spending about 30 minutes in which they were riding a stationary bicycle or walking or jogging three times a week. The other group was the one who were using anti-depressant, which is known as sertraline, also known by the name of Zoloft and this is a very commonly used drug that belongs to the class of anti-depressants known as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

The researchers found out after 16 weeks that the groups that were on exercise, antidepressant medication, as well as a combination of both showed that all of them had effective medication in treating major depression. The participants involved in the study were put through standard tests for depression, and they took tests to check as to what are the cognitive abilities such as memory, attention, concentration, as well as the psychomotor speed. It is to note that these tests were taken before they enrolled in the trial, as well as four months after.

When the results were compared from the 42 members who were selected in the exercise group with the 42 members who were in the medication group, they found that exercise had a very positive effect on the areas of cognitive functioning. These individuals who showed a lot of benefit to the exercise therapy were the ones who had mild depression. Those people who were suffering from moderate to severe depression were the ones who showed less improvement. The research has not stopped here, but the researchers are enrolling different individuals in another study in which the participants will be diagnosed as depressed and will be the ones who will able to exercise over the age of 50.

This research has proved great benefit to the elderly individuals and will open great avenues for a lot of facts to be unveiled so that a lot of individuals benefit from it. All these researches are a great asset and will be something that will bring hope to a lot of individuals.


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