Depression is one of the most common causes of disability in the world. Authors estimate 1 in 5 individuals will experience a form of depression, varying in severity, in their lifetimes. Depression remains a serious condition and individuals affected with this condition are strongly encouraged to work with a mental health professional for evaluation and treatment. Exercise remains one of the least prescribed interventions for mental health conditions including depression despite strong evidence for its’ utilization as a stand alone treatment or as an adjunct to other treatments including pharmaceutical management. A recent review of the evidence compared the effectiveness of exercise to pharmaceutical interventions for patients with non severe depression.
Recchia published a review of the medical evidence comparing the effects of anti depressants, exercise, and a combined approach in patients with non severe depression (Br J Sp Med. 2022). Authors included 21 randomized controlled trials including over 2500 participants with non severe depression. They reported no differences among three comparison studies: exercise vs. antidepressants, exercise and anti depressants vs. anti depressants, or exercise and anti depressants vs. exercise. Authors concluded exercise should be utilization as either a stand alone or combined treatment for non severe depression. Patients with depression are strongly encouraged to reach out to a mental health provider or primary care physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.