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Mind-body and strength exercise good for unipolar depression

A network meta-analysis of 17 trials comprising 1,645 participants was reviewed and found that mind-body exercises and vigorous strength exercises were significantly better than treatment as usual to improve sleep quality in patients with depression.1 They defined mind-body exercises as characterised by slow movements or body positioning, often combined with breathing and relaxation.

Vigorous aerobic and light strength was not better than treatment as usual.

A good narrative for encouraging exercise is to remind patients that “their muscles are (endocrine) factories that create hope chemicals in the mind.” Many depressed patients have stopped doing regular physical activity and benefit from being encouraged.

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