Randomized controlled trial of physical exercise as augmentation to antidepressant therapy for late-life major depression in primary care

Exercise is good for the body and soul

Exercise is good for the body and soul


  • Progressive physical exercise plus sertraline anti-depressant therapy achieves higher rates of depression remission than non-progressive therapy plus sertraline, or sertraline alone in primary care patients with late-life major depression.

Study Design

  • 121 primary care patients were randomized to receive 24 weeks of higher intensity progressive physical exercise plus sertraline, lower intensity non-progressive exercise plus sertraline, or sertraline alone.
  • The primary outcome was remission, a score of ≤10 on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression.

Key Results

  • 81% in the progressive exercise group achieved remission.
  • 73% in the non-progressive exercise group achieved remission.
  • 45% in the sertraline only group achieved remission.
  • Patients in the progressive exercise group achieved remission in a shorter time than the sertraline only group.
Belvederi Murri M, Amore M, Menchetti M, Toni G, Neviani F, Cerri M, Rocchi MB, Zocchi D, Bagnoli L, Tam E, Buffa A, Ferrara S, Neri M, Alexopoulos GS, Zanetidou S; Safety and Efficacy of Exercise for Depression in Seniors (SEEDS) Study Group.  Physical exercise for late-life major depression. Br J Psychiatry. 2015 Jul 23. pii: bjp.bp.114.150516