Updated: August 26, 2011

When researchers at Italy's University of Cagliaridivided women who were taking prescriptionantidepressants into two groups-one that workedout together for an hour twice a week and onethat did no exercise-only the active women showedsignificant improvements in their symptoms. It's proven that working up a sweat can help you fightthe blues in the short term, but this study suggests itmay be an effective long-term treatment for depression,especially when you work out in addition to takingdrugs and getting therapy. "Exercise decreases levelsof the stress hormone cortisol and increases theproduction of the neurotransmitter serotonin, both ofwhich help alleviate depressive symptoms," says MauroCarta, M.D., one of the study's authors. "The regularsocial contact the classes provided may also help."

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