Tag: Exercise

Even a little exercise could help reduce risk

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Long-term study finds that even a little daily exercise can help reduce depression risk. RichLegg/Getty Images
  • Exercise can help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and even improve brain health.
  • Evidence is growing that it can also alleviate the symptoms of depression, the leading cause of mental health-related disease.
  • However, advice varies about how much exercise is needed for a beneficial effect.
  • Now, a 10-year study in Ireland has found that even small amounts of exercise, such as a 20-minute walk most days, can help reduce the risk of depression in older adults.

Depression — a chronic feeling of emptiness, sadness, or inability to feel pleasure — is one of the most common mental health conditions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it affects around 5% of adults worldwide.

In the United States, in 2020, 21 million adults (8.4% of all adults), had at least one major depressive episode, with higher rates in women than men.

In the United Kingdom, government statistics show that one in six people experienced depressive symptoms in 2021–2022.

Treatments for depression depend on the type of depression a person is experiencing but may include antidepressants, psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or a combination of therapy and medication. They are effective for many people, but depression can return once treatment is stopped.

There is increasing evidence that lifestyle changes can reduce depressive symptoms. A 2014 analysis of 21 studies found that a diet high in fruit, vegetables, fish, and whole grains may be associated with a reduced depression risk. And a 2022 review of studies found that exercise alleviated depressive symptoms.

However, few studies have looked at how much exercise is needed to have a positive impact on depression.

Now, a 10-year study has found

Health advice: Exercise treatment specific to osteoarthritis

Because exercise improves both function and reduces pain, it’s a critically important treatment for osteoarthritis and one which is often not recommended strongly enough

Dear Dr. Roach: You recently had a column on arthritis that recommended more activity. So, what medications can help? You didn’t say in your article. I take a slow-release Tylenol, but I heard of a study that says tart cherry pills help.


Tart cherry juice has been shown to reduce the risk of gout, a type of arthritis caused by uric acid crystals in the joint, by about 35%. This is specific to gout, however, and has not been shown to be effective, to my knowledge, in the most common type of arthritis: osteoarthritis.

When I mentioned exercise treatment for arthritis, I meant specifically for osteoarthritis. Because exercise improves both function and reduces pain, it’s a critically important treatment and one which is often not recommended strongly enough. Many people worry that exercising on their arthritic joints will worsen the problem. We even used to call osteoarthritis wear-and-tear arthritis, leading people to think they will wear out their joints by exercising. However, most people find that the more they exercise, the less pain they feel when exercising.

Unfortunately, some people have such severe arthritis that it is very painful to move the joints, or exercise alone is inadequate for pain relief. For superficial joints, such as the hands and knees, I often recommend topical anti-inflammatories, especially diclofenac (Voltaren) gel, two or three times a day. This medicine gets into the superficial joints (it can’t penetrate into deep joints like the hip) and can relieve pain for many. It is very safe and worth a try.

If topical anti-inflammatories don’t help, I usually prescribe an anti-inflammatory by mouth. The over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen and naproxen are

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