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Study shows benefits of exercise for patients with chronic health conditions

Hitting the gym or going for a jog could alleviate fatigue, depressive symptoms and other mental health issues among chronically ill patients, according to new findings (subscription required) published in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Reuters reports:

[Researchers] combed through 90 previous studies including more than 10,000 people with health problems like cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), fibromyalgia, chronic pain or obesity.

In each study, people had been randomly chosen to do exercises -- on average, three times a week over 17 weeks -- or not.

According to [study author Matthew Herring, PhD], people's depressive symptoms, as rated on a variety of psychological scales, dropped about 22 percent with exercise overall. That's similar to the effects on fatigue, anxiety, pain and other mental health outcomes.

More study is needed - the researchers say they haven't determined what types of exercise are most beneficial and how long the effects last - but the findings add to the evidence on the health benefits of exercise. As one of our surgeons opined in a recent Stanford Medicine article on the topic, “There’s practically nothing that exercise isn’t good for."

Previously: How light exercise can help prevent arthritis from getting worse,Exercise may alleviate symptoms of arthritis regardless of weight loss and Treating joint pain with physical activity, self-management programs
Photo by Sasha Wolff

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