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Aerobic exercise strong antidepressant for lifting depression

Aerobic exercise strong antidepressant for lifting depression

A new study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety has found that supervised aerobic exercise has a large antidepressant effect in patients with major depression (MD).

Although exercise is associated with depression relief, the effects of aerobic exercise (AE) interventions on clinically depressed adult patients have not been clearly supported.

Ioannis D. Morres, School of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of Thessaly, Trikala, Greece, and colleagues conducted the systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the antidepressant effects of AE versus nonexercise comparators exclusively for depressed adults (18–65 years) recruited through mental health services with a referral or clinical diagnosis of MD.

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The researchers searched for eleven e‐databases and bibliographies of 19 systematic reviews for relevant randomized controlled clinical trials. A random-effects meta‐analysis (Hedges’ g criterion) was employed for pooling postintervention scores of depression. Heterogeneity and publication bias were examined.

Across 11 eligible trials (13 comparisons) involving 455 adult patients (18-65 years old) with MD as a primary disorder, supervised aerobic exercise was performed on average for 45 minutes, at moderate intensity, 3 times per week, and for 9.2 weeks.
Key Findings:
  • The aerobic exercise showed a significantly large overall antidepressant effect compared with antidepressant medication and/or psychological therapies.
  • The aerobic exercise revealed moderate-to-large antidepressant effects among trials with a lower risk of bias, as well as large antidepressant effects among trials with short-term interventions (up to 4 weeks) and trials involving preferences for exercise.
  • Subgroup analyses revealed comparable effects for aerobic exercise across various settings and delivery formats, and in both outpatients and inpatients regardless of symptom severity.

“Collectively, this study has found that supervised aerobic exercise can significantly support major depression treatment in mental health services,” said lead author Dr. Morres.

“Notwithstanding the small number of trials reviewed, AE emerged as an effective antidepressant intervention,” concluded the authors.

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Source: With inputs from Depression and Anxiety

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