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Alexandria Journal of Medicine

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Exercise as a treatment modality for depression: A narrative review

Awad Mohammed Al-Qahtani, Mohammed Ashique K. Shaikh, Ibrahim Ahmed Shaikh

Abstract


Depression is a major health burden associated with poor quality of life and impaired functioning. Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is associated with profound economic costs. Depression is usually treated with antidepressant medications and psychological therapy or combination of both. However, there are lot of limitations associated with these therapies and as a result, a number of alternative or adjunctive therapies have been sought for. Exercise is one such option with a lot of substantial supportive research. The objective of the article was to review the beneficial effects of exercise in depression. An electronic search of literature from inception till 06/2017 highlighting the effects of exercise on depression and the possible mechanistic pathways involved was conducted using PubMed/ Medline, Google scholar and Scopus and relevant articles were utilized for this review. The results of this review confirmed the beneficial role of exercise in depression as evidenced by the improvement in the outcomes and the various psychobiological parameters measured. Thus exercise can be considered as a treatment option for the management of depression.

Keywords: Depression, Exercise, Physical activity, Mechanistic pathways, BDNF




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