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It's no news that exercise has been shown to alleviate depression and improve well-being over the long term. With these positive effects in mind, researchers of a recent study published in the December 2005 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise set out to determine if a single bout of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise would have a positive effect on individuals suffering from major depressive disorder.

Move Your Mood

It's no news that exercise has been shown to alleviate depression and improve well-being over the long term. With these positive effects in mind, researchers of a recent study published in the December 2005 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise set out to determine if a single bout of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise would have a positive effect on individuals suffering from major depressive disorder.

Participants were asked to walk on a treadmill for 30 minutes or to rest quietly for the same amount of time. Both groups were tested for several variables such as sense of well-being, anger, fatigue, and confusion, five minutes before and five, 30, and 60 minutes after their treadmill walk or quiet rest. The participants of the physically active group reported improvement in their sense of well-being following the testing period, a benefit not reported by the rest-only group, suggesting that the mood-enhancing benefits of exercise may be present in the short-term after only one 30-minute workout. So there is some substance to experts' advice when they say "Feeling down? Go for a walk!"

Active Healing

As we age, many things slow down; so is it possible to maintain the rate at which injuries and wounds heal? That's the question a group of researchers from the Ohio State University asked when they decided to observe wound healing rates in a group of exercising older adults in comparison to that of a non-exercising control group. This three-month study looked at the effects of exercise on wound healing among healthy older adults. All participants had not exercised regularly for six months so the 28 participants who were encouraged to exercise were given one month to acclimatize to a new exercise program that included 30 minutes of pedalling on a stationary bike, 15 minutes jogging or brisk walking on a treadmill, and 15 minutes of strength training. Fifteen participants acted as controls by not changing their level of physical activity. All then underwent a small puncture wound about half a centimetre across and deep on the back of the upper arm. Individual wounds were measured three times a week until fully healed. Regular exercisers took only 29 days to heal, while nonexercisers took up to 10 days longer to recover. From these results, researchers have speculated that exercise may speed wound healing by enhancing neuroendocrine function, meaning that healthier individuals have a higher body function that helps the body heal faster.

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