The objective of this study was to assess the efficacy of physical exercise for the treatment of depressive symptoms in older adults. Eleven randomized controlled trials with a total of 641 participants were included in the review. Short-term positive outcome for depression or depressive symptoms was found in nine studies, although the mode, intensity and duration of intervention varied across studies. Medium- to long-term effects of intervention were less clear.
The results showed that physical exercise programmes obtain clinically relevant outcomes in the treatment of depressive symptoms in depressed older people. Exercise, though not appropriate for all in this population, may improve mood in this group.
Blake, H., Mo, P., Malik, S., Thomas, S. How effective are physical activity interventions for alleviating depressive symptoms in older people? A systematic review. Clinical Rehabilitation, 23(10), 873-887