Finding it hard to function in the winter? The weather getting you down? It’s quite common that when the temperature drops, we spend less time outside and more time living under the covers.

Seasonal depression is often times characterized as mood swings, anxiety, weight gain/loss, exhaustion or the combination of them all. One great way we can battle the blues is exercise. Here’s an important study that we can take from with the effects of exercise on patients suffering from depression.

This randomized control trial involved 200 sedentary adults with major depressive disorder randomized to: a) supervised exercise (3hours/week); b) home-based exercise; c) sertraline (a.k.a. Zoloft/an antidepressant); d) placebo pill.

This is a very important study concludes that an aerobic exercise program provide similar benefits on depression after 4 months and 1 year as prescription antidepressants. On top of that, a regular exercise program augmented the benefits of antidepressant use.

The challenge is getting patients with depression to actually comply with an exercise program…it takes great PT skills!  Know someone that gets the winter blues bad? Share with them this study. Helping patients get out of any kind of depression can be tremendously satisfying, so do whatever it takes to motivate them to do even a daily 5-minute exercise routine!

Reference: Hoffman BM, et al Exercise and pharmacotherapy inpatients with major depression: one-year follow-up of the SMILE study.Psychosom Med. 2011 Feb-Mar; 73(2):127-33.

If you or your family have any further questions regarding this study, or would like to benefit from a supervised exercise program, please contact your Sheddon Physiotherapist at (905) 849-4576.