They studied 361 adults aged 18 to 69 who had recently consulted their general practitioner about symptoms of depression. In addition to usual care, intervention participants were offered up to three face-to-face sessions and 10 telephone calls with a trained physical-activity facilitator over eight months. At four, eight, and 12 months follow-up, there was no evidence that those offered exercise support were any less depressed, although the group did report increased physical activity compared with the control group. The researchers said the main implication of their results is that advice and encouragement to increase physical activity is not an effective strategy for reducing symptoms of depression. "Although our intervention increased physical activity, the increase may not have been sufficiently large to influence depression outcomes."
Physical exercise has, however, been found to reduce amyloid plaques in the brain, which are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Read more about it in Psychiatric News, here.