Exercise: the best drug against depression and heart diseases?


Dr. Willis and colleagues examined data of almost 18,000 participants whose cardiorespiratory health was measured when they were 50 years old on average. On the basis of the participants’ administrative data, the researchers analyzed correlations between cardiorespiratory fitness at 50 and prevalence of depression and heart disease in later life.

The study revealed that participants with high exercise levels at the age of 50 had a 56% lower risk of dying from heart disease after being diagnosed with depression. The researchers also found correlations with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and kidney disease. These conditions, as the authors pointed out in their paper, may impact the efficacy of antidepressants. In these cases, exercise may prove to be the best treatment for depression.

In their conclusion, Dr. Willis et al. underlined that “there is enough evidence to show that the impact of low fitness on depression and heart disease is real”.