8.2 – Walking can help treat Depression?

After Chris briefly gave me feedback with where my app will originate, I decided to carry out some brief research into how GP’s prescribe walking and exercise to combat the signs and effects of depression.

Recently there has been more and more studies to suggest that walking can battle the effects of depression in Cancer patients, despite doctors denying this for many years.

According to the website I have been reading www.wildwomenontop.com:

PhD candidate George Mammen’s review published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has taken the connection one step further, finding that moderate exercise can actually prevent episodes of depression in the long term.

This is the first longitudinal review to focus exclusively on the role that exercise plays in maintaining good mental health and preventing the onset of depression later in life.

Mammen analyzed over 26 years of research findings to discover that walking for 20-30 minutes a day can ward off depression in people of all age groups. Mammen’s findings come at a time when mental health experts want to expand their approach beyond treating depression with costly prescription medication. “We need a prevention strategy now more than ever,” he says. “Our health system is taxed. We need to shift focus and look for ways to fend off depression from the start.”

Other sites have included The New York Times:

Dr. Trivedi and his colleagues divided these volunteers into two groups. One began a gentle aerobic exercise routine, under the tutelage of Cooper Institute researchers, which required them to burn a certain amount of calories per session, depending on their weight. How the subjects expended the energy was up to them. Some walked for about 10 minutes a day, on a treadmill or by strolling around the block, at a pace of three miles an hour. Others chose an equivalent easy cycling workout.

The second group was more energetic, walking briskly for about 30 minutes a day at a pace of four miles an hour, or the cycling equivalent, a regimen that meets the current exercise recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine.

Each volunteer exercised for four months, while continuing to take an antidepressant. At the end of that time, according to the study published recently in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 29.5 percent had achieved remission, “which is a very robust result,” Dr. Trivedi said, equal to or better than the remission rates achieved using drugs as a back-up treatment. “I think that our results indicate that exercise is a very valid treatment option” for people whose depression hasn’t yielded to S.S.R.I.’s, he said.

These are just two examples that I have found while looking across the internet, it’s not something I was unaware of but having some studies to read up on has really made a difference.

I want to create a scenario/ storyboard where the doctor prescribes walking as an option to try and improve the wellbeing of the patient, rather than prescribe pills or as something which they take alongside their medication. This does not have to only apply to the most severe of cases, aas I want it to be used by everyone.

This can help me bring some context to my app, helping me understand the persona that I am trying to create for.