Rebecca Gleason

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The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of exercise for adolescents, middle-aged adults, and older adults with depression.

Literature from thirty-four professional medical journals and eight professional websites were reviewed. The resulting information was organized into categories as described in the purpose of the study.

In 2017, it was estimated that 17.3 million adults living in the United States had at least one major depressive episode, which came to be 7.1% of all adults (DBSA, 2019). In a 2019 review, causes of depression were related to personal factors, some being personality, drug or alcohol use, family history, or a serious medical illness. With the example of personality, this can be a depressive trigger if it causes them to have a low self-esteem or worry a lot (Beyond Blue, 2019). Exercise causes the body to release growth factors and endorphins, which results in new connections being made and nerve cell growth. This improvement in brain function helps someone feel better (HHP, 2018).

A study found that an exercise intervention helped in reducing symptoms of depression by studying 18 adolescents. Dopp’s results showed a 19.9-point decrease in the exercise intervention group compared to a 2.8-point decrease in the treatment-as-usual group from before and after the study, respectively (Dopp, 2018). Carter studied 87 adolescents and found that circuit training and body-weight exercises helped in lowering depression levels (Carter, et al., 2015).

Morres concluded that the input of exercise resulted in lower levels of depression, with a change from 17.10 to 2.92 pre- and post-intervention of exercise (Morres, et al., 2019). In Werneck’s study, 59,401 Brazilian adults were studied. He found that when physical activity recommendations were not met, depression scores were higher, whereas when recommendations were met, the average score was lower. This allowed him to conclude that meeting the recommended physical activity levels reduced depression scores (Werneck, et al., 2019). In a similar study, McDowell measured levels of depression of 10,000 adults and found that meeting the PA guidelines was directly correlated with 44.7% lower odds of elevated depressive symptoms (McDowell, et al., 2018). In another study, Danielsson studied 13 people diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and found that by using aerobic exercise as an intervention, depression scores decreased from before to after the intervention with average scores of 23 to 12, respectively (Danielsson, et al., 2016).

In another study Ortiz concluded that consistent exercise reduced depressive symptoms in institutionalized older adults with the input of chair exercises across a span of 12 weeks (Ortiz, et al., 2019). Also, Jin looked at the effects of a long-term exercise intervention on depressive symptoms in 30 older Korean women and found that the average score decreased from 8.7 to 6.5. It could be seen that body fat and waist circumference also decreased with the input of exercise (Jin, et al., 2019).