A randomised, controlled study on the effects of a short-term endurance training programme in patients with major depression
- 1Section of Sports Medicine, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
- 2Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
- 3Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Campus Mitte, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
- 4Department of Biometry and Medical Statistics, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
- Correspondence to: Dr F C Dimeo Charité Campus Benjamin Franklin, Station 6, Hindenburgdamm 30, Berlin, Germany;
- Accepted 9 October 2006
- Published Online First 24 October 2006
Objective: To evaluate the short-term effects of exercise in patients with major depression.
Design: Prospective, randomised, controlled study.
Setting: A university hospital.
Patients: A consecutive series of 38 inpatients with a major depression episode undergoing standard clinical antidepressant drug treatment.
Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to an exercise (walking, n = 20) or placebo (low-intensity stretching and relaxation exercises, n = 18) group. Training was carried out for 10 days.
Main outcome measurements: Severity of depression assessed with the Bech-Rafaelsen Melancholy Scale (BRMS) and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES-D).
Results: After 10 days, reduction of depression scores in the exercise group was significantly larger than in the placebo group (BRMS: 36% v 18%; CES-D: 41% v 21%; p for both = 0.01); the proportion of patients with a clinical response (reduction in the BRMS scores by more than six points) was also larger for the exercise group (65% v 22%, p<0.01).
Conclusions: Endurance exercise may help to achieve substantial improvement in the mood of selected patients with major depression in a short time.
Competing interests: None.