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Estudos e Pesquisas em Psicologia

On-line version ISSN 1808-4281


HERNANDEZ, José Augusto Evangelho  and  VOSER, Rogério da Cunha. Regular physical exercise and depression in the elderly. Estud. pesqui. psicol. [online]. 2019, vol.19, n.3, pp. 718-734. ISSN 1808-4281.

The number of people over 60 years of age in the Brazilian population is around 12.5% of the total. Aerobic capacity, muscle strength, flexibility, balance, time of reaction and movement, agility and coordination are reduced in old age. This can entail numerous difficulties in carrying out the daily tasks and the functional independence of the elderly. They often feel useless, anxious, frustrated, moody, angry, and depressed. On the other hand, the practice of regular physical activities can bring improvements to their physical and mental health. This research investigated the relationship between regular physical exercise and depression in elderly individuals. A total of 160 people from 60 to 85 years of age participated in the study, of which 84 were of different types of regular physical activity and 76 were sedentary. Depression Scale for the Elderly was used to assess depression, which consists of cognitive-affective and somatic-motor dimensions. The Student's t test revealed that the sedentary elderly presented significantly higher average degrees in both dimensions and in total depression, compared to the elderly practicing regular physical exercises. In the discussion, we discuss the neurophysiological and psychosocial hypotheses to explain the positive effects of regular exercise on the mood of the practitioners.

Keywords : physical exercise; depression; elderly; sedentary.

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