Moderate exercise improves depression symptoms in congestive heart failure patients

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Individuals suffering from both heart failure and depression could see improvement with the introduction of an exercise program, a new study reveals.

Up to 75% of individuals suffering from congestive heart failure also develop depression. Both disorders are common in nursing home residents. A Duke University study following 2,000 congestive heart failure patients found that participants assigned to an exercise program experienced a greater reduction of depressive symptoms after three months than those who did not exercise.

The exercise program included 90 to 120 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week. Participants primarily used treadmills and stationary bikes, according to the study.

“It's something that most patients can engage in. It results in improved cardio-respiratory fitness, they have more stamina, and now we see that not only do they derive these physical benefits, but they also derive psychological benefits as well.” lead investigator, James A. Blumenthal, Ph.D., told the New York Times.

The study was published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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