HealthDay News — Resistance exercise training (RET) is associated with reduced depressive symptoms among adults, according to a meta-analysis published online May 9 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Brett R. Gordon, from the University of Limerick in Ireland, and colleagues examined the correlation of efficacy of RET with depressive symptoms using data from 33 randomized clinical trials involving 1877 participants. The trials used validated measures of depressive symptoms, which were assessed at baseline and mid- and/or post-intervention. A total of 947 participants were randomized to RET and 930 to a nonactive control condition.

The researchers observed a significant reduction in depressive symptoms with RET, with a moderate-sized mean effect Δ of 0.66. There was considerable heterogeneity, and 32.9% of the observed variance was accounted for by sampling error. There was a number needed to treat of four. There were no significant correlations for total volume of prescribed RET, participant health status, and strength improvements with the antidepressant effect of RET. Randomized clinical trials with blinded allocation and/or assessment had smaller reductions in depressive symptoms.

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“Resistance exercise training significantly reduced depressive symptoms among adults regardless of health status, total prescribed volume of RET, or significant improvements in strength,” the authors write. “Better-quality randomized clinical trials blinding both allocation and assessment and comparing RET with other empirically supported treatments for depressive symptoms are needed.”

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