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Physical fitness is a well-established way to boost the mood of healthy and depressed people. According to increasing or decreasing brain responses to positive or negative stimuli, respectively, increasing evidence shows that exercise may also improve emotional stability in healthy adults by raising or decreasing brain responses to positive or negative stimuli. It is also unknown, however, that exercise may also improve emotional stability in depressed people. We investigated the effects of a single aerobic exercise session on mood and emotional stability in 24 depressed and 24 matched healthy young adults. Both groups' results revealed that exercise-induced emotional reactivity increases with the severity of depressive symptoms: the effectiveness of exercise in improving emotional reactivity decreases with the severity of depressive symptoms. It also appears that a single aerobic exercise session may have no effect on neural emotional stability in depressed people.
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