Exercise will not cure depression: study

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While exercise has been shown to boost mental health among fit seniors and younger adults, a study out of the United Kingdom indicates mild exercise is not effective in reducing depression among nursing home residents.

More than 1,000 residents in U.K. homes were involved in the randomized trial. Close to half of the residents had been diagnosed with depression.

The participants were divided into a control group with depression awareness training, and a second group that had the training, a component encouraging physical activity in daily life, and twice-weekly physiotherapist-led group exercise sessions of 45 minutes.

The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment found that, a year later, there was no significant difference in who was depressed. Warwick Medical School professor of primary care research Martin Underwood described the results as “disappointing.”

Still, vigorous exercise may help those who can do it, along with medication and therapy, he said. Better documentation of depression also is a must in nursing homes, Underwood told McKnight's.

The study was published in May in The Lancet.