Dr. Madhukar Trivedi of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and colleagues had
study participants diagnosed with depression -- ages 18-70, who had not remitted with treatment using a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant medication -- divided into two groups. Each group received a different level of exercise intensity for 12 weeks, with sessions supervised by trained staff at the Cooper Institute and augmented by home-based sessions.
Participants, whose average depression length was seven years, exercised on treadmills, cycle ergometers or both, kept an online diary of frequency and length of sessions, and wore a heart-rate monitor while exercising. They also met with a psychiatrist during the study.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found by the end of the investigation, almost 30 percent of patients in both groups achieved full remission from their depression and another 20 percent significant displayed improvement, based on standardized psychiatric measurements.
Moderate exercise was more effective for women with a family history of mental illness but intense exercise was more effective with women whose families did not have a history of the disease, the study found.
The higher rate of exercise was more effective for men regardless of other characteristics, Trivedi said.