Study finds exercise ineffective in alleviating depressive symptoms
ADVICE to increase a patient’s physical activity is not an effective strategy to reduce symptoms of depression, according to new research.
The British study of 361 adults diagnosed with an episode of depression assessed with a Beck inventory score of 14 or more found that a facilitated physical activity intervention neither improved the depression outcome nor reduced use of antidepressants.
Patients in the intervention group were offered three face-to-face sessions and 10 telephone calls with a trained exercise consultant over a period of eight months, in addition to their usual care.
But the study found no evidence that participants who were offered the physical activity intervention reported improvement in mood at any point over 12 months of follow-up, compared with those in usual care.
The authors concluded: “Clinicians and policy makers should alert people with depression that advice to increase physical activity will not increase their chances of recovery from depression.”
BMJ 2012; online 6 June