Depression dampens exercise benefits
As healthy as exercise is, some of its benefits may be reduced in people who are depressed. A study published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity found that people who suffer from depression might not see some of the many health benefits of exercise and other healthy lifestyle habits.
People who are physically active generally have lower levels of a protein called C-reactive protein (CRP). This protein often signifies inflammation in the body and has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
But, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center, people who were physically active, but suffered from depression did not have the same reduced levels of CRP that people who were physically active and mentally healthy enjoyed.
They found the same correlation in people who intentionally reduced their alcohol consumption. Most of the time cutting down on alcohol will reduce the levels of CRP in the body. People who reduced their alcohol consumption but also suffered from depression did not see the same reduction in CRP that people without depression saw from the same behavior.
These findings reflect only a correlation and do not necessarily prove that depression itself directly hinders the reduction of CRP. But, if the findings are confirmed in future studies, doctors could start to consider depression treatments, along with traditional treatments such as healthy eating and exercise, as a way to reduce heart disease risk.