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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2015 May;131(5):350-9. doi: 10.1111/acps.12371. Epub 2014 Dec 1.

Exercise augmentation compared with usual care for post-traumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

1
Musculoskeletal Division, The George Institute for Global Health and School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia; St John of God Health Care Richmond Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the impact of a 12-week exercise programme in addition to usual care for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

METHOD:

An assessor-blinded randomized controlled trial was conducted among 81 participants with a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of primary PTSD. Participants were recruited after admission to an in-patient programme at a private hospital. Participants were randomized to receive either usual care (n=42), or exercise in addition to usual care (n=39). The exercise intervention involved three, 30-min resistance-training sessions/week and a pedometer-based walking programme. Usual care involved psychotherapy, pharmaceutical interventions, and group therapy. Primary outcome was PTSD symptoms assessed via the PTSD checklist-civilian version (PCL-C). Secondary outcomes included symptoms of depression, anthropometry, physical activity, mobility, strength, and sleep quality.

RESULTS:

Participants had a mean (SD) age of 47.8 years (12.1), 84% male. PTSD symptoms in the intervention group significantly reduced compared with the usual care group (mean difference=-5.4, 95% CI -10.5 to -0.3, P=0.04, n=58). There were significant between-group differences at follow-up for depressive symptoms, waist circumference, sleep quality, and sedentary time.

CONCLUSION:

This study provides the first evidence that an exercise intervention is associated with reduced PTSD and depressive symptoms, reduced waist circumference, and improved sleep quality.

KEYWORDS:

exercise; physical activity; post-traumatic stress disorder; randomized controlled trial

PMID:
25443996
DOI:
10.1111/acps.12371
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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