Plain language summary
Decreased physical activity can contribute significantly to increased levels of depression. Whereas, regular physical activity positively alters the symptoms of depression thereby promoting mental health. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of aquatic exercise on mental health, functional autonomy and oxidative stress parameters in depressed elderly individuals. The study is a longitudinal clinical study, conducted over a period of 12 weeks. Forty participants were recruited: 20 elderly individuals (men n = 9 men) with depression formed the depression group and another 20 (n = 13 men) individuals without depression formed the non-depression group. Both groups were subjected to the same aquatic physical training program. Results showed that a low-intensity aerobic training program in the aquatic environment can contribute to the treatment of depression by reducing anxiety and depression scores, improving functional autonomy and decreasing oxidative stress. Authors conclude that an intermittent aquatic physical exercise program improves the functional capacity of depressed elderly individuals.
OBJECTIVES The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of aquatic exercise on mental health, functional autonomy and oxidative stress parameters in depressed elderly individuals. METHODS Initially, ninety-two elderly individuals were included in the study and were allocated into the depression group (n=16) and nondepression group (n=14). Both groups engaged in the aquatic exercise program for 12 weeks, including two weekly sessions (45 min/session) at a low intensity (between 50% and 60% of maximal heart rate or Borg scale scores of 13 to 14) throughout the intervention. All outcomes were evaluated at baseline and 12 weeks later. RESULTS The patients were 63.5±8.8 years old. The following scores were decreased after training in the depressed group: depression (53%), anxiety (48%), and Timed Up & Go (33%). The following scores increased: Berg Balance Scale (9%) and flexibility (44%). Regarding the blood-based parameters, there were decreases in protein carbonylation (46%) and nitric oxide (60%) and increases in glutathione (170%) and superoxide dismutase (160%) in the depression group (p<0.005). CONCLUSIONS The aquatic exercise program reduces depression and anxiety, improves functional autonomy and decreases oxidative stress in depressed elderly individuals.