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Asian J Sports Med. 2015 Jun;6(2):e24055. doi: 10.5812/asjsm.6(2)2015.24055. Epub 2015 Jun 20.

Depression and Exercise: A Clinical Review and Management Guideline.

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Sports Medicine Research Center, Neuroscience Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.
Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.
Exercise Physiology Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.



There is an increasing interest to detect how exercise affects depression symptoms. Although recent findings confirm the positive effect of exercise on depression, there is no clear guideline regarding advice on exercise for patients with depression. The following review aims at presenting the contemporary literature regarding the nature of depression, exercise, the underlying mechanisms and the management of an exercise program in individuals with depression.


We searched electronic databases including Cochrane Library, PubMed, ISI web of knowledge and PsychInfo (from January 2000 to October 2014). We reviewed the systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and large-scale randomized control trials on effects of exercise on depression.


Recent evidence has emerged on characteristics of effective exercise programs and those patients with depression that will most benefit from the exercise programs. However due to the methodological weaknesses and inconsistencies of studies, conclusions must be made with caution.


We have provided a number of recommendations for clinicians and researchers who plan to use exercise protocols in depression.


Antidepressant Effect; Brain; Depression; Depressive Symptoms; Exercise; Physical Activity

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