Turning conventional wisdom about the effect of exercise on people suffering from depression on its head, a study published on Wednesday in the British Medical Journal has concluded that exercise does not in any significant way alleviate symptoms as compared to routine medical care and therefore the reluctance of many patients to use anti-depressants by upping physical activity is not supported by scientific evidence.
The study conducted by researchers from Bristol University and Peninsula Medical School divided 361 subjects into two groups. While one group received usual medical care for their symptoms, the intervention group was assigned a trainer under whose supervision they trained for over eight months. The participants in the intervention group did not have better outcome than those in the regular treatment group at the four month follow up point.
The study concluded that there was no significant difference in the outcomes of the two groups even though at the end of the study period, the intervention group did report higher levels of physical activity.