Exercise is an effective treatment for late-life depression

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Takeaway
  • Exercise is an effective treatment option for late-life depression, according to a meta-analysis of 41 randomized controlled trials.

Key Results
  • 41 randomized clinical trials met inclusion criteria.
  • Exercise interventions included aerobic and non-aerobic exercise.
  • Exercise was associated with a 43% reduction in depression severity (SMD = 0.57, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.78).
  • This finding did not vary according to different ages of participants, types of control groups, or types of exercise interventions.
  • Studies that required a diagnosis of depression had significantly greater mean effect sizes than studies that only required depression symptoms.

Study Design
  • This was a meta-analysis using a random effects model to characterize the benefit of exercise for late-life depression.