OBJECTIVE: To assess flexibility and balance in healthy elderly subjects with or without major depression, by means of two different programs: aerobic exercises and flexibility and balance exercises. METHODS: A randomized, double-blind controlled study in which each sample was the control of itself. Research subjects were 19 healthy elderly individuals, aged between 60 and 90 years, of both genders, referred to the Department of Geriatrics of the Hospital das Clinicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Sao Paulo, with or without the diagnosis of major depression, and sedentary or that had not engaged in physical activity for at least 6 months. RESULTS: Subjects with major depression, as well as those without depression, showed signifcant improvement in flexibility and balance, especially in the group that did aerobic exercises. CONCLUSION: The results of this investigation reinforce the relevance of physical exercises for the elderly with major depression, as this is an important tool for treating and following-up this group of patients.
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