Aerobic Exercise An Effective Antidepressant
The efficacy of exercise in decreasing symptoms of depression has been well established. Many studies have found exercise to be as effective as antidepressants in the treatment of depression, including major depressive disorder.
New research, a systemic review and meta-analysis, has confirmed that exercise can produce an effective antidepressant effect, and therefore, can be considered an effective antidepressant intervention for depression, including major depression.
If you are struggling with depression or major depression, rather than taking medication, you might find it equally beneficial, or more so, to embark on a regular aerobic exercise routine. As mentioned, regular exercise, which includes aerobic exercise, has repeatedly shown to be an effective antidepressant.
NOTE: Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine if you haven't maintained exercise as part of your normal lifestyle routine.
You can read the press release of this recent research below:
Aerobic exercise has antidepressant treatment effects
An analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials indicates that supervised aerobic exercise has large antidepressant treatment effects for patients with major depression. The systematic review and meta-analysis is published in Depression and Anxiety.
Across 11 eligible trials involving 455 adult patients (18-65 years old) with major depression 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. It showed a significantly large overall antidepressant effect compared with antidepressant medication and/or psychological therapies.
Also, aerobic exercise revealed moderate-to-large antidepressant effects among trials with 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. Ioannis D. Morres, of the University of Thessaly, in Greece.
1. Craft, Lynette L., and Frank M. Perna. “The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed.” Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc., 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/.
2. Harvard Health Publishing. “Exercise Is an All-Natural Treatment to Fight Depression.” Harvard Health, Apr. 2018, www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/exercise-is-an-all-natural-treatment-to-fight-depression.
3. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Depression and Anxiety: Exercise Eases Symptoms.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 27 Sept. 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495.
4. Morres, I D, et al. “Aerobic Exercise for Adult Patients with Major Depressive Disorder in Mental Health Services: A Systematic Review and meta-Analysis.” Depression and Anxiety., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Oct. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30334597.
Disclaimer: anxietycentre.com is not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted at anxietycentre.com by contributing institutions or for the use of any information throughout anxietycentre.com's system.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.
Anxiety attacks can be powerful and overwhelming experiences. But there is help available. We encourage you to explore our website for a comprehensive understanding of anxiety, anxiety attacks, disorders, and their signs and symptoms.
Also, for more information about our Anxiety Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; information about Anxiety Attacks, Symptoms, and Treatment options; the signs and symptoms of panic attacks disorder; anxiety Recovery Support area; information about Anxiety; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate link or graphic below:
Return to our anxiety research page.