Journal Article

A Randomized Controlled Trial of High Versus Low Intensity Weight Training Versus General Practitioner Care for Clinical Depression in Older Adults

Nalin A. Singh, Theodora M. Stavrinos, Yvonne Scarbek, Garry Galambos, Cas Liber and Maria A. Fiatarone Singh

in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A

Published on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America

Volume 60, issue 6, pages 768-776
Published in print June 2005 | ISSN: 1079-5006
Published online June 2005 | e-ISSN: 1758-535X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gerona/60.6.768
A Randomized Controlled Trial of High Versus Low Intensity Weight Training Versus General Practitioner Care for Clinical Depression in Older Adults

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Background. Although exercise has been shown to relieve depression, little is known about its mechanism or dose-response characteristics. We hypothesized that high intensity progressive resistance training (PRT) would be more effective than either low intensity PRT or standard care by a general practitioner (GP) in depressed elderly persons, and that high intensity PRT would provide superior benefits in quality of life, sleep quality, and self-efficacy.

Methods. Sixty community-dwelling adults >60 years with major or minor depression were randomized to supervised high intensity PRT (80% maximum load) or low intensity PRT (20% maximum load) 3 days per week for 8 weeks, or GP care.

Results. A 50% reduction in the Hamilton Rating Scale of Depression score was achieved in 61% of the high intensity, 29% of the low intensity, and 21% of the GP care group (p =.03). Strength gain was directly associated with reduction in depressive symptoms (r = 0.40, p =.004), as was baseline social support network type (F = 3.52, p =.015), whereas personality type, self-efficacy, and locus of control were unrelated to the antidepressant effect. Vitality quality-of-life scale improved more in the high intensity group than in the others (p =.04). Sleep quality improved significantly in all participants (p <.0001), with the greatest relative change in high intensity PRT (p =.05).

Conclusions. High intensity PRT is more effective than is low intensity PRT or GP care for the treatment of older depressed patients.

Journal Article.  5950 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Geriatric Medicine ; Biological Sciences

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