A very small new study suggests that exercise could help teens fend off depression.
The British study involved three boys and 10 girls with depression who were enrolled in workouts with trainers three times a week for three months, HealthDay reports. Teens were also encouraged to exercise 30 minutes a day on most other days.
Researchers from the University of Newcastle found that the workouts boosted mood, with depression severity reduced by 63 percent. What's more, 83 percent of the subjects who completed the exercise program were no longer as depressed by the end of the study, HealthNews adds.
The study was presented this weekend at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego, California.
"Exercise has so many advantages as a therapy: It is non-drug, has few side effects and has countless other health benefits," study author Robin Callister said, according to HealthDay. "But it has never been tested in youth as treatment for depression."
"Evidence that exercise can lift mood in young people is a huge step forward in treatment of this delicate population," she added. "We are now conducting a larger trial to further evaluate the effects of exercise in depression and are hopeful that it could be used as a treatment in addition to other treatments for depression without potential problems."
While the study was small, prior research has also found that exercise goes a long way in boosting mood. A new scientific review from the University of Toronto, published last month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, suggests that regular activity can even prevent episodes of depression. Researchers analyzed more than 26 years' worth of research on the subject, finding that low levels of physical activity, such as walking and gardening for 20-30 minutes a day, can ward off depression in people of all age groups, regardless of one's individual predisposition toward depression.
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