About 20% of people will annually experience a depressive disorder in their lifetime. Depression disorders are predicted to be the greatest contributor to health burden by 2030.
Symptoms of depression Depressive disorders are characterized by a sad or irritable mood accompanied by physical and cognitive changes. That impair an individuals functioning. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is the most common depressive disorder and the main symptom is mood or loss of interest or pleasure in most activities for most days over at least a two week period. Other symptoms of MDD are changes in weight or appetite, slowed speech, or movement, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, changes in sleep, diminished ability to concentrate and suicidal.
Exercise can improve depressive symptoms
A number of randomized trials have shown that exercise is effective as other established treatments for depressive disorders such as medication and psychotherapy. The American Psychiatric Association’s Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients with Major Depressive Disorder supports exercise as the first-line treatment provided that the patient is sufficiently monitored.
The exercise recommendations for depression should reflect the current physical activity guidelines. Both aerobic exercise and resistance training have proven effective in reducing symptoms. People with depression may have trouble staying motivated for exercise, drop-out rate is about 20% for people with MDD.
Fitness professionals can help people with MDD set realistic goals, with intention planning, and implementing effective behavior strategies.
Individually tailored exercise People who have depression typically engage in less physical activity, have lower cardiorespiratory fitness, heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes which are chronic medical conditions that for the most part can be avoided with healthy lifestyle habits or lifestyle medicine.
When people who have depression are also diagnosed with additional medical conditions such as those listed above, the exercise training program aneeds to be individually tailotd to the individul and take these conditions in consideration for physical fitness, health and mental benefits to occur. Fitness professionals often play an integrate part in treatment of depression and can work in cooperation with mental health specialists.