Exercise Improves Depression: Gold Strategies to Treatment Adherence?

Lara S.F. Carneiro1, António Manuel Fonseca2, Maria Augusta Vieira-coelho3, Maria Paula Mota1, José Vasconcelos-raposo4; 1Centre of Research, Sports Sciences, Health and Human Development, University of Trás-os-montes and Alto Douro, Portugal, 2Centre of Research, Education, Innovation and Intervention in Sport, Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal, 3Psychiatry and Mental Health Clinic, Centro Hospitalar São João, Porto, Portugal, 4Department of Education and Psychology, University of Trás-os-montes and Alto Douro

Physical exercise (PE) has been consistently documented as a complementary therapy in the treatment of depressive disorder. However, it is widely acknowledged the difficult compliance to the exercise intervention in this clinical population. In accordance with several authors, adherence and patient displacement to PE programs is a critical aspect in long-term trials of patients with psychiatric disorders (Rosenbaum, Tiedemann, Sherrington, Curtis, & Ward, 2014). We implemented a randomized controlled trial. A total of 19 women diagnosed with clinical depression were randomized either to supervised aerobic exercise group plus pharmacotherapy (intervention group) or only antidepressant medication (control group). Having this in mind, an exercise program was designed to optimize patients’ adherence. Therefore, motivational strategies were implemented. A multidisciplinary team of professionals from diverse areas (General Practitioners, Psychiatrists, Psychologist, Physical Training Teacher, Professor of Exercise Physiology) encourages highly specialized skills of different specialties working together to provide the best care for the patients. Other strategies were implemented, such as creation of Facebook page to maintain an online interactive system that provides support/cohesion among exercise program patients; PE done in group as an effective way to enhance psychosocial behaviour and social interaction; having an experienced exercise leader to supervise; setting realistic goals (possible goals can increase sense of self-esteem/helpfulness). Our results showed that PE could be an effective adjuvant therapy for treating women with depression. The aerobic exercise group presented improvement in depression (Beck Depression Inventory-II) and physical functioning. In the present study the percentage of adherence rates was 82%.

Topic Area: Mood Disorders

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