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The Effects of Exercise on Depression in Older Adults

1 May 2008


Clinical Bottom Line: Aerobic exercise three days a week at 50%-85% of heart rate reserve (HRR) for 45 minutes to one hour or progressive resistive training (PRT) three days a week at 20%-80% one repetition maximum (1RM) are effective treatments to significantly decrease depressive symptoms in the elderly.

Clinical Scenario: Elderly patients exhibiting signs and symptoms of depression are frequently treated in outpatient physical therapy clinics. We have heard that exercise decreases depressive symptoms, but are unclear which type of exercise program would be most effective to decrease depressive symptoms in older adults. We would like to know the type, frequency, and intensity of exercise required to achieve a clinically meaningful reduction in depressive symptoms in this population.


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