A new study conducted by researchers at West Virginia University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that exercise helps fight depression for people with fibromyalgia or rheumatic diseases.
“Previous randomized controlled trials have led to conflicting findings regarding the effects of exercise on depressive symptoms in adults with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions (AORC). The purpose of this study was to use the meta-analytic approach to resolve these discrepancies,” the study authors wrote in their abstract.
The study was published this month in Arthritis Research and Therapy. Researchers identified 29 randomized, controlled trials in which participants exercised at least four weeks. A total of 2,449 adults who suffer from fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or systemic lupus erythematous participated in the studies that were reviewed and analyzed by the researchers. There were 35 groups who exercised and 29 control groups.
The groups that were assigned to exercise had a statistically significant reduction in depression. For those groups that only included women, the analysis found that women experienced a greater reduction in depression with exercise compared to groups that included men, or men and women.
The study found other benefits outside of reduction in depressive symptoms. Improvements in anxiety, pain, quality of life and overall body strength were observed.
“As opposed to pharmacologic interventions that generally target one outcome, these findings provide evidence to support the use of exercise for improving multiple outcomes,” the study authors wrote.
The study concluded, “Exercise is associated with reductions in depressive symptoms among selected adults with AORC. A need exists for additional, well-designed and reported studies on this topic.”
The CDC suggests 150 minutes of moderate-to-intense exercise each week. Vigorous aerobic exercise should be done for 75 minutes per week. And, the CDC recommends muscle strengthening two days per week.
How important is exercise in your management of pain or depression?