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Exercise ‘may be as effective as drug treatment in depression’


Exercise has a ‘moderate sized’ effect on the symptoms of depression and may be as effective as drug or psychological treatment, concludes a gold-standard analysis of the current evidence.

The review from the Cochrane Collaboration – published this month - found a moderate clinical effect from exercise from 35 trials, with a reduction in depression symptoms at the at the end of treatment of -0.62, compared with no treatment or a control interventions.

But they said that further trials were needed to compare drug and psychological treatment of depression with exercise interventions due to a ‘paucity’ of data in this area.

The researchers concluded: ‘The evidence suggests that exercise may be as effective as psychological or pharmacological treatments, but the number of trials reporting these comparisons and the number of participants randomised, were both small.’


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