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Depressed? Flex your muscles

A daily dose of exercise can help people with depression by improving their mental health, says a UK study.

health and fitness Updated: Feb 09, 2008 11:20 IST

Doing some exercise regularly can help people with depression by improving their mental health, a survey in Britain suggests.

Exercise improves self-esteem and relieves the feeling of isolation that leads to depression. It also releases feel-good brain chemicals such as endorphins, Britain's Mental Health Foundation said.

The foundation surveyed 200 general practitioners and found that 22 per cent of them suggested exercise to help people with milder forms of the condition.

A similar survey conducted three years ago had shown that just five percent of the practitioners suggested exercise to help people with depression, reported the online edition of BBC News.

It was important that doctors did not just prescribe antidepressants for patients but also looked for options like exercise therapy, the foundation said.