Exercise does not reduce anxiety and depression

Genetically identical twins showed no difference in anxious and depressive symptoms when one exercised more than the other, according to this study from VU University Amsterdam.

But don’t put away your running shoes just yet.

First, the details.

  • 5952 adult twins, 1357 additional siblings, and 1249 parents were surveyed about their leisure-time exercise (type, frequency, and 4 scales of anxious and depressive symptoms).

And, the results.

  • In genetically identical twins, the one who exercised more did not display fewer anxious and depressive symptoms than the one who exercised less.
  • Increased participation in exercise did not predict decreases in anxious and depressive symptoms.

The bottom line?
“For patients diagnosed with an anxiety or depressive disorder, studies have suggested that prescribed exercise may alleviate symptoms. But that effect may be more environmentally driven,” the researchers concluded in a MedPage article.”

Most important, “These findings do not detract from the beneficial effects of regular exercise on numerous aspects of physical health such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus.”

8/5/08 13:20 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.