Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Depression and Stroke

Monday, December 5th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Chinese researchers have analyzed the results of 17 studies (involving more than 200,000 subjects) that investigated the relationship between depression and stroke. They found that persons who had experienced depression at some time in their lives were approximately one-third more likely to have a stroke compared to persons who had not been depressed, according to a Reuters Health Information report.

Each of the 17 studies started out with subjects who hadn’t had a stroke, and then tracked them over time. Most of the studies showed a clear link between depression and increased stroke risk. Overall, the risk for stroke was 34 percent higher in persons with depression.

Even though the connection between depression and stroke was seen to be strong, it is not yet known whether depression actually causes an increase in stroke risk. That is an issue that will be addressed by further research. It may be that depression hampers an individual’s ability to follow healthful behaviors. Depression has also been linked to the development of both hypertension and diabetes. Future studies will tackle the question: Can successfully treating the symptoms of depression lead to a lower risk for stroke?


Owning a Pet Can Be Healthy

Thursday, March 18th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

SFA author Jim Evans is a 42-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and an internationally recognized fitness consultant. Today Jim shares a creative idea with a lonely widow seeking to cope with grief and depression.

DEAR JIM: My health has been going downhill ever since my husband passed away last year after a long illness. I haven’t been handling my grief very well, and I find myself down in the dumps most of the time. My doctor has prescribed an antidepressant which seems to help a little, but I still can’t seem to shake this constant feeling of loneliness. I know you have always said that exercise helps to fight depression, but I really don’t feel up to anything very physical. Is there anything else you can recommend? DEPRESSED IN DULUTH

DEAR DEPRESSED: I’m sorry for your loss, and I can understand why you don’t feel like engaging in any physical activity while you are still grieving. However, a little bit of exercise can help in your recovery, even if it’s only a daily walk around the block.

So, let me suggest a different approach to accomplishing the same thing.

I’d like for you to get up bright and early tomorrow morning, put on your favorite dress, and visit the local animal shelter. Don’t laugh. Okay, go ahead and laugh if you feel like it. Yes, I mean the animal shelter. And, while you are there, I want you to adopt the first dog — or cat — that you fall in love with. I guarantee that you will fall in love with one!

Why a dog or cat? Because, according to the Centers for Disease Control (, pets can decrease your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol, and diminish your feelings of loneliness. Equally important, they increase your opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities and for socialization.

You guessed it: If you select a dog, you will have to take that cute little critter for a walk on a regular basis, so you’ll both benefit from some fresh air and exercise. With a pet, you will be responsible for its care and feeding, and you will be rewarded with "unconditional love and acceptance," says Rebecca Johnson, associate professor at the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and director of the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction.

"Research in this field is providing new evidence on the positive impact pets have in our lives," adds Johnson in a report to UPI’s ArcaMax Publishing (

You will be saving a life, too. Between three and four million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States simply because too many people give up their pets and too few people adopt from shelters ( You can help an abandoned pet — and, perhaps, yourself at the same time.