When researchers at Italy's University of Cagliari
divided women who were taking prescription
antidepressants into two groups-one that worked
out together for an hour twice a week and one
that did no exercise-only the active women showed
significant improvements in their symptoms.
It's proven that working up a sweat can help you fight
the blues in the short term, but this study suggests it
may be an effective long-term treatment for depression,
especially when you work out in addition to taking
drugs and getting therapy. "Exercise decreases levels
of the stress hormone cortisol and increases the
production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, both of
which help alleviate depressive symptoms," says Mauro
Carta, M.D., one of the study's authors. "The regular
social contact the classes provided may also help."