Strength (resistance) training can help reduce symptoms of depression, according to an analysis in JAMA Psychiatry in June 2018, which pooled data from 33 clinical trials involving 1,877 participants.
The ability of aerobic exercise to help reduce depressive symptoms is well established, but less is known about the effect of strength training.
The new analysis found beneficial effects regardless of participants’ age, sex, or overall health or the features of the strength-training program (duration, frequency, and intensity of the sessions or the resulting improvements in strength), though fully supervised programs had the greatest benefit.
The studies compared strength training to a variety of control groups, who usually got patient education, usual care, or no treatment.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see Exercise: Medicine for the Mind.