Resistance Exercise Training May Alleviate Some Depressive Symptoms Interview with:
“gym” by FooJFoo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0Mr. Brett R. Gordon, M.Sc.

Postgraduate researcher
Physical Education and Sport Sciences Department
University of Limerick, Ireland. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Depression is prevalent, burdensome, and often comorbid mood disorder that is associated with other poor health outcomes. Exercise training interventions have demonstrated comparable efficacy for depressive symptoms to frontline treatments, such as antidepressant medications and behavioral therapies.

However, the evidence to date has primarily focused on findings from studies of aerobic exercise training like jogging, running, and cycling. Our work is the first quantitative summary of the effects of resistance exercise training (RET), or weight lifting and strength training, on depressive symptoms, and the influence of variables like participant characteristics, features of the RET, and the methods that were used in studies on the antidepressant effects of RET.

The main finding was that resistance exercise training significantly reduced depressive symptoms among adults regardless of their health status, the total prescribed volume of RET (e.g., how much the participants were supposed to exercise), or whether or not strength was significantly improved by the RET intervention. What should readers take away from your report?

 Response: The best available empirical evidence supports that resistance exercise training may be an effective alternative or adjuvant therapy for depressive symptoms. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Future trials should compare RET with other empirically supported therapies for depressive symptoms, such as antidepressant medication use and cognitive-behavioral therapy, and explore the potential mechanisms that may help to explain how and why RET affects depressive symptoms. 


Gordon BR, McDowell CP, Hallgren M, Meyer JD, Lyons M, Herring MP. Association of Efficacy of Resistance Exercise Training With Depressive SymptomsMeta-analysis and Meta-regression Analysis of Randomized Clinical TrialsJAMA Psychiatry. Published online May 09, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.0572

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