A new study has revealed that supervised aerobic exercises have large antidepressant treatment effects for patients with major depression. The systematic review and meta-analysis were published in the Journal of 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. aerobic exercises also reduce the risk of high blood pressure and body ache among individuals.
Also, 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. Ioannis D. Morres, of the University of Thessaly, in Greece.
Some examples of aerobic exercises are cardio machines, spinning, running, swimming, walking, hiking, aerobics classes, dancing, cross-country skiing, and kickboxing, to name a few.