Depression often goes hand in hand with diabetes, and people with both conditions have poorer glycaemic control. Exercise has been found to improve both depression and diabetes. So Kristin Schneider, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and colleagues tried a strategy to help depressed women with type 2 diabetes become more active.
They used a treatment for depression that focuses on the patient’s environment rather than their thoughts, finding enjoyable activities to motivate them.
‘Because patients with diabetes and comorbid depression are often sedentary and lack motivation to exercise, we developed a group exercise intervention that integrates strategies from behavioral activation therapy for depression to increase motivation for and enjoyment of exercise,’ the team reports.
The six-month pilot study randomly selected 29 women into an exercise group and a non-exercising control group. Although no major differences were found in the two groups, those who exercised said they became more active and felt less depressed.
‘Using behavioral activation strategies to increase exercise is feasible in a group exercise setting,’ the authors conclude.
‘However, whether these strategies can be delivered in a less intensive manner to a broader population of sedentary adults, for greater initiation and maintenance of physical activity, deserves further study.’