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The reciprocal relationship between physical activity and depression in older European adults

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Implications for practice and research

  • The study highlights the mental health benefits of regular physical activity in the prevention of future depressive illness among older adults.

  • Physical activity appears to be effective for promoting mental health and preventing depression, although further study is needed of different types of depression, for example, recurrent or chronic depression.

  • Future studies, specifically randomised trials, should also determine the relationship between dose, and type, of physical activity and depression, and unexpected events in a prospective design if physical activity is to be routinely recommended.


Depression is approximately twice as prevalent among women compared with men and is associated with functional disability, co-morbid medical conditions and social deprivation.1 Longer life expectancy is leading to a …

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