In the last dozen years there has been a growth in the number of people taking antidepressant medications for depression. New research reveals there's another way to help those who feel sad and listless and no prescription is required. Researchers from Duke University studied 202 people suffering from depression. They found two ways to alleviate depression: one is antidepressant medication, and the other -- that works just as well -- is exercise. Neuropsychologist Thomas Burns said, "Children with a consistent exercise regiment are more likely to have lower levels of anxiety, lower levels of stress, in this study, lower levels of suicide, lower levels of depression." Fifteen-year-old Ronnie Kirkpatrick said, "You can be in a bad mood, come in and lift all your weight, just take your anger out. You leave with a sense that you've done something good for yourself, you feel better, it clears your mind and you just, i think, it helps you have a better day." In part because of endorphins, chemicals released in the brain during exercise that help you feel good. Burns said, "So for those students that are more likely to be pre-disposed to depression or feeling sad, it's a beneficial effect and it's a natural way of doing it without medication or through some other means." He says if your kids are moody or sad on occasion, one solution -- or at least one place to start -- might be regular exercise. In addition to reducing depression, regular exercise helps build stronger bones and fit muscles, strengthens the heart and lungs, lowers blood pressure, improves muscle strength and flexibility, reduces stress, helps control weight, and improves sleep.
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