Resistance exercise training (RET) may significantly curb depressive symptoms, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.
Though previous reviews have shown that exercise provides physical health benefits, the new study attempted to determine whether exercise — specifically resistance training — could combat or prevent mental health problems.
Researchers looked at 33 clinical trials that included 1,877 participants between 25 and 60 years old. Some of them were battling major or minor depression as well as generalized anxiety disorder. Over 16 weeks, the participants engaged in RET for 2 to 7 days per week.
Study results indicated that continuous resistance training — such as using free weights and weight machines — significantly reduced depressive symptoms in participants, regardless of their age, sex, and health status. The results indicated that RET can be considered an alternative and/or adjuvant therapy for depressive symptoms.