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Exercise best to beat the blues.

HEALTH promotions specialists in Coventry have backed an American study which says regular exercise can be an effective way to combat depression.

Researchers from the University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, found that patients who started training at a gym displayed vast improvement over those taking medication.

Even those taking a combination of drugs and exercise did not benefit as much as those simply working-out.

The study, published in the Psychosomatic Medicine journal, says just three half-hour sessions a week could slash the symptoms.

Even after the exercise programme finished, 92 per cent of patients experienced virtually no depression for up to six months, compared with just 38 per cent who took prescribed drugs.

Esther Higdon, senior health promotion specialist at Coventry Health Authority, agreed that exercise was good for the soul, as well as the body.

"To do even very moderate exercise, like walking, can help reduce anxiety and depression," she said.

"Working out a bit harder can also make people feel much better in themselves because the body releases the natural painkiller endorphin.

"Just the fact that you have bothered to make the effort is an achievement in itself."
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 23, 2000
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