Comparing aerobic with nonaerobic forms of exercise in the treatment of clinical depression: a randomized trial.

Comparing aerobic with nonaerobic forms of exercise in the treatment of clinical depression: a randomized trial.
Compr Psychiatry. 1989 Jul-Aug;30(4):324-31.

Clinical Depression
Major depression
Dysthymic disorder

Compared aerobic with nonaerobic forms of exercise in the treatment of clinical depression. Ninety-nine inpatients, who met the DMS-III-R criteria for major depression, dysthymic disorder, or depressive disorder not otherwise specified (NOS), took part in the study. They were randomly assigned to two different physical training conditions, aerobic and nonaerobic. In both conditions, one hour of training was performed three times a week for a period of 8 weeks. There was a significant increase in maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max) in the aerobic group; there was no change in the nonaerobic group regarding this variable. Depression scores in both groups were significantly reduced during the study, but there was no significant difference between the groups. The correlation between increase in physical fitness and reduction in depression scores was low. The study indicates that the antidepressive effects associated with exercises are not restricted to aerobic forms of training.

The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed

The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed
Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2004; 6(3): 104–111.

When it comes to the effects of exercise on depression, aerobic exercise, such as running and swimming, has been much more extensively researched than anaerobic exercise, such as weightlifting. But as one study reports, there’s little difference between the two in terms of how well they relieve symptoms of depression. A study published in The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in 2004, followed 40 women and found similar results in those who ran and those who lifted weights for eight weeks. In addition, there was no difference in the percentage of participants in the two groups who remained non-depressed during follow-up.

While many treatments have predominantly been “pharmacological” to date, there is growing evidence that behavioural treatments such as excercise are beneficial therapies.

“Exercise is a behavioral intervention that has shown great promise in alleviating symptoms of depression.”

Given the increasing numbers being recorded, there is a great need to investigate preventative and alternative treatments.

“Depression affects roughly 9.5% of the U.S. adult population each year, and it is estimated that approximately 17% of the U.S. population will suffer from a major depressive episode at some point in their lifetime.1,2 Depression has been ranked as the leading cause of disability in the United States, with over $40 billion being spent each year on lost work productivity and medical treatment related to this illness.3–6 “

As well as an increase in the breadth of population suffereers there is growing evidence that contributes to the deepening of symptoms across a person’s health spectrum.

“Treatment of clinical depression can be improved by the addition of cognitive-behavioral therapies,10 and by exercise. Research has also shown that depressed patients are less fit and have diminished physical work capacity on the order of 80% to 90% of age-predicted norms,11–14 which in turn may contribute to other physical health problems.”