Study shows positive impact of sports in depression

In the treatment of depression medications (antidepressants) and psychotherapy are usually used. However, physical activities can contribute to the therapy. Researchers have now been able to show that Sport has a particularly positive effect on the mood symptoms.

More and more people with mental illness

A report by the world health organization (WHO), according to the number of people is increased with depression in the past few years in the world. Also in the EU, more and more people suffer from mental illness, particularly in older age, as experts reported. In accordance with the national care guidelines on depression with antidepressants and/or psychotherapy to be treated. But sports help against depression. This has been shown in a scientific study by Italian researchers.

Regular exercise helps to fight depression. According to a study, Sport has symptoms, particularly a positive influence on the Mood. (Image: ARochau/

Sport against depression

Only a few months ago a study by an international science team was published, which came to the conclusion that an hour of exercise helps in the week, depression to prevent.

Physical activities also help, if people are already ill. So researchers came in studies to the conclusion that sports works in a similar way to antidepressants.

And at the Hannover Medical school (MHH), had been years ago, a training program for depression will be presented.

Can benefit, especially elderly patients. However, it was yet unclear which depressive symptoms are particularly improved by exercise.

Italian researchers have now gained new insights. Their results were published in the “Journal of Affective Disorders”.

Positive effects on mood symptoms

Depression can manifest itself in a variety of symptoms: typically, among other things, sad mood, apathy, sleep disturbance, poor concentration, fatigue, irritability, slowing of movement, lack of appetite and weight loss, as well as hopelessness and the inability to participate in events in the immediate environment, emotionally.

The researchers from Italy showed in their study that physical activity can have an impact in Depression a positive effect on the mood symptoms. A positive influence on the physical symptoms was not found.

To come to their results, the researchers analyzed data from the so-called SEEDS-study, an investigation of the antidepressant efficacy of the antidepressant sertraline, and the drug plus exercise was compared.

According to the study authors, the Training was carried out three times a week in small groups and by heart rate monitor monitors.

The depressive symptoms of 121 patients with depression were assessed at the beginning, after four, eight, twelve, and 24 weeks using the Hamilton depression scale.

Numerous affective, autonomic, fear, and arousal factors were analyzed.

The biggest changes at the beginning and end of the study

The scientists observed that In comparison to the study participants, which were given only the antidepressant, improved mood symptoms in the group with the medication plus the Sport significantly.

The largest changes were observed mainly in the first four weeks and the last twelve weeks.

The improvements concerned mainly the depressive mood and psychomotor retardation – impairments are Moving in, Speak and Act meant.

Affected, for example, have difficulties with Gross and fine motor skills, Hand-eye coordination, and are often overwhelmed, to perform tasks like personal care, shopping, etc.

Additional Sports Treatment

The authors pointed out that in their study, only the data of a relatively small number of subjects were taken into account.

Nevertheless: “to Add movement to the treatment with antidepressants can offer to the affective symptoms of Depression significant benefits,” the researchers concluded.

And: “Compared with a standard antidepressant therapy, clinical benefits should be expected in an early stage (in the first 4 weeks) as well as in a later stage (after 12 weeks).” (ad)