Skip to content
Back

Depression – Less fatigue and improves energy levels

Evidence Summary
Epidemiological evidence in the general population suggests a dose-response between physical activity and improved energy and reduced fatigue.(34) A meta-analyses of 5 RCTs showed a statistically significant moderate effect on the physical domain outcome which included energy and fatigue (p=0.001).(33)

Quality of Evidence
Grade B – Moderate quality
Strength of recommendation
Grade 1 – Strong recommendation
Conclusion
There is moderate evidence that physical activity can improve energy levels and reduce fatigue.

References

  1. Archer T, Josefsson T, Lindwall M. Effects of Physical Exercise on Depressive Symptoms and Biomarkers in Depression. CNS Neurol Disord – Drug Targets. 2015 Jan 26;13(10):1640–53.
  2. Singh NA, Clements KM, Fiatarone MA. A randomized controlled trial of the effect of exercise on sleep. Sleep [Internet]. 1997 [cited 2022 Aug 4];20(2):95–101. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9143068/
  3. Reid KJ, Baron KG, Lu B, Naylor E, Wolfe L, Zee PC. Aerobic exercise improves self-reported sleep and quality of life in older adults with insomnia. Sleep Med [Internet]. 2010 Oct [cited 2022 Aug 4];11(9):934. Available from: /pmc/articles/PMC2992829/
  4. Brupbacher G, Gerger H, Zander-Schellenberg T, Straus D, Porschke H, Gerber M, et al. The effects of exercise on sleep in unipolar depression: A systematic review and network meta-analysis. Sleep Med Rev. 2021 Oct 1;59:101452.
  5. McKercher C, Patton GC, Schmidt MD, Venn AJ, Dwyer T, Sanderson K. Physical activity and depression symptom profiles in young men and women with major depression. Psychosom Med [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2022 Aug 4];75(4):366–74. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/Fulltext/2013/05000/Physical_Activity_and_Depression_Symptom_Profiles.6.aspx
  6. Chalder M, Wiles NJ, Campbell J, Hollinghurst SP, Haase AM, Taylor AH, et al. Facilitated physical activity as a treatment for depressed adults: randomised controlled trial. BMJ [Internet]. 2012 Jun 9 [cited 2022 Aug 4];344(7860). Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22674921/
  7. Searle A, Calnan M, Lewis G, Campbell J, Taylor A, Turner K. Patients’ views of physical activity as treatment for depression: a qualitative study. Br J Gen Pract [Internet]. 2011 Apr [cited 2022 Aug 4];61(585). Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21439172/
  8. Kinnafick F, Smith N, Appleton P, Tweed L, Bayes N, Tiler C. Mind’s Get Set to Go programme – NCSEM-EM [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2022 Sep 9]. Available from: https://www.ncsem-em.org.uk/research/mental-health-and-wellbeing/impact/home-minds-get-set-to-go-programmeminds-get-set-to-go-programme/
  9. Fox KR. The influence of physical activity on mental well-being. Public Health Nutr [Internet]. 1999 [cited 2022 Aug 4];2(3A):411–8. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10610081/
  10. Knapen J, Vancampfort D, Moriën Y, Marchal Y. Exercise therapy improves both mental and physical health in patients with major depression. https://doi.org/103109/096382882014972579 [Internet]. 2015 Jul 1 [cited 2022 Aug 4];37(16):1490–5. Available from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09638288.2014.972579
  11. Wynne Hess C, Karter J, Cosgrove L, Hayden L. Evidence-based practice: a comparison of International Clinical Practice Guidelines and current research on physical activity for mild to moderate depression. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/tbm/article/9/4/703/5128824
  12. Cooney GM, Dwan K, Greig CA, Lawlor DA, Rimer J, Waugh FR, et al. Exercise for depression. Saudi Med J [Internet]. 2013 Nov [cited 2022 Aug 4];34(11):1203. Available from: https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004366.pub6/full
  13. Schuch FB, Vancampfort D, Richards J, Rosenbaum S, Ward PB, Stubbs B. Exercise as a treatment for depression: A meta-analysis adjusting for publication bias. J Psychiatr Res. 2016 Jun 1;77:42–51.
  14. de Souza Moura A, Lamego M, Paes F, Ferreira Rocha N, Simoes-Silva V, Rocha S, et al. Comparison Among Aerobic Exercise and Other Types of Interventions to Treat Depression: A Systematic Review. CNS Neurol Disord – Drug Targets. 2015 Dec 9;14(9):1171–83.
  15. Nyström MBT, Neely G, Hassmén P, Carlbring P. Treating Major Depression with Physical Activity: A Systematic Overview with Recommendations. https://doi.org/101080/1650607320151015440 [Internet]. 2015 Jul 4 [cited 2022 Aug 4];44(4):341–52. Available from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/16506073.2015.1015440
  16. Wegner M, Helmich I, Machado S, Nardi A, Arias-Carrion O, Budde H. Effects of Exercise on Anxiety and Depression Disorders: Review of Meta- Analyses and Neurobiological Mechanisms. CNS Neurol Disord – Drug Targets. 2014 Sep 15;13(6):1002–14.
  17. Rosenbaum S, Tiedemann A, Sherrington C, Curtis J, Ward PB. Physical Activity Interventions for People With Mental Illness: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Clin Psychiatry [Internet]. 2014 Mar 31 [cited 2022 Aug 4];75(9):14465. Available from: https://www.psychiatrist.com/jcp/eating/physical-activity-interventions-mental-illness-systematic
  18. Korman N, Armour M, Chapman J, Rosenbaum S, Kisely S, Suetani S, et al. High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) for people with severe mental illness: A systematic review & meta-analysis of intervention studies– considering diverse approaches for mental and physical recovery. Psychiatry Res. 2020 Feb 1;284:112601.
  19. Chen Y jing, Li X xia, Pan B, Wang B, Jing G zhuang, Liu Q qian, et al. Non-pharmacological interventions for older adults with depressive symptoms: a network meta-analysis of 35 randomized controlled trials. https://doi.org/101080/1360786320191704219 [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2022 Aug 5];25(5):773–86. Available from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13607863.2019.1704219
  20. Huang J, Nigatu YT, Smail-Crevier R, Zhang X, Wang J. Interventions for common mental health problems among university and college students: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Psychiatr Res. 2018 Dec 1;107:1–10.
  21. Schuch FB, Vancampfort D, Rosenbaum S, Richards J, Ward PB, Veronese N, et al. Exercise for depression in older adults: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials adjusting for publication bias. Rev Bras Psiquiatr [Internet]. 2016 Jul 1 [cited 2022 Aug 4];38(3):247–54. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27611903/
  22. Morres ID, Hatzigeorgiadis A, Stathi A, Comoutos N, Arpin-Cribbie C, Krommidas C, et al. Aerobic exercise for adult patients with major depressive disorder in mental health services: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Depress Anxiety [Internet]. 2019 Jan 1 [cited 2022 Aug 12];36(1):39–53. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30334597/
  23. Seshadri A, Adaji A, Orth SS, Singh B, Clark MM, Frye MA, et al. Exercise, Yoga, and Tai Chi for Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder in Outpatient Settings: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Prim care companion CNS Disord [Internet]. 2020 Dec 31 [cited 2022 Aug 12];23(1). Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33389843/
  24. Brinsley J, Schuch F, Lederman O, Girard D, Smout M, Immink MA, et al. Effects of yoga on depressive symptoms in people with mental disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med [Internet]. 2021 Sep 1 [cited 2022 Aug 5];55(17):992–1000. Available from: https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/55/17/992
  25. Gill BK, Cant R, Lam L, Cooper S, Lou VWQ. Non-pharmacological depression therapies for older Chinese adults: A systematic review & meta-analysis. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2020 May 1;88:104037.
  26. Gordon BR, McDowell CP, Hallgren M, Meyer JD, Lyons M, Herring MP. Association of Efficacy of Resistance Exercise Training With Depressive Symptoms: Meta-analysis and Meta-regression Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. JAMA Psychiatry [Internet]. 2018 Jun 1 [cited 2022 Aug 12];75(6):566–76. Available from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2680311
  27. Martland R, Mondelli V, Gaughran F, Stubbs B. Can high intensity interval training improve health outcomes among people with mental illness? A systematic review and preliminary meta-analysis of intervention studies across a range of mental illnesses. J Affect Disord. 2020 Feb 15;263:629–60.
  28. Miller KJ, Gonçalves-Bradley DC, Areerob P, Hennessy D, Mesagno C, Grace F. Comparative effectiveness of three exercise types to treat clinical depression in older adults: A systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Ageing Res Rev. 2020 Mar 1;58:100999.
  29. Guo S, Liu F, Shen J, Wei M, Yang Y. Comparative efficacy of seven exercise interventions for symptoms of depression in college students: A network of meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore) [Internet]. 2020 Nov 20 [cited 2022 Aug 12];99(47):e23058. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/md-journal/Fulltext/2020/11200/Comparative_efficacy_of_seven_exercise.21.aspx
  30. Chan JSY, Liu G, Liang D, Deng K, Wu J, Yan JH. Special Issue–Therapeutic Benefits of Physical Activity for Mood: A Systematic Review on the Effects of Exercise Intensity, Duration, and Modality. J Psychol Interdiscip Appl. 2019 Jan 2;153(1):102–25.
  31. Bellon JA, Conejo-Ceron S, Sanchez-Calderon A, Rodriguez-Martin B, Bellon D, Rodriguez-Sanchez E, et al. Effectiveness of exercise-based interventions in reducing depressive symptoms in people without clinical depression: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Psychiatry [Internet]. 2021 Nov 22 [cited 2022 Aug 4];219(5):578–87. Available from: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/abs/effectiveness-of-exercisebased-interventions-in-reducing-depressive-symptoms-in-people-without-clinical-depression-systematic-review-and-metaanalysis-of-randomised-controlled-trials/E78F2113FAD9292C501403261C8EC5B7
  32. Song J, Liu ZZ, Huang J, Wu JS, Tao J. Effects of aerobic exercise, traditional Chinese exercises, and meditation on depressive symptoms of college student: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Medicine (Baltimore) [Internet]. 2021 Jan 8 [cited 2022 Aug 12];100(1):e23819. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/md-journal/Fulltext/2021/01080/Effects_of_aerobic_exercise,_traditional_Chinese.18.aspx
  33. Schuch FB, Vancampfort D, Rosenbaum S, Richards J, Ward PB, Stubbs B. Exercise improves physical and psychological quality of life in people with depression: A meta-analysis including the evaluation of control group response. Psychiatry Res. 2016 Jul 30;241:47–54.
  34. Puetz TW. Physical activity and feelings of energy and fatigue: Epidemiological evidence. Sport Med. 2006;36(9):767–80.
  35. Beserra AHN, Kameda P, Deslandes AC, Schuch FB, Laks J, de Moraes HS. Can physical exercise modulate cortisol level in subjects with depression? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Trends Psychiatry Psychother. 2018 Oct 1;40(4):360–8.
  36. Brené S, Bjørnebekk A, Åberg E, Mathé AA, Olson L, Werme M. Running is rewarding and antidepressive.
  37. Leventhal AM. Relations between anhedonia and physical activity. Am J Health Behav. 2012 Nov;36(6):860–72.
  38. Yeh SH, Lin LW, Chuang YK, Liu CL, Tsai LJ, Tsuei FS, et al. Effects of music aerobic exercise on depression and brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in community dwelling women. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015.
  39. Toups M, Carmody T, Greer T, Rethorst C, Grannemann B, Trivedi MH. Exercise is an effective treatment for positive valence symptoms in major depression. J Affect Disord [Internet]. 2016 Oct 15 [cited 2022 Aug 4];209:188–94. Available from: https://europepmc.org/articles/PMC6036912
  40. Krogh J, Saltin B, Gluud C, Nordentoft M. The DEMO Trial: A Randomized, Parallel-Group, Observer-Blinded Clinical Trial of Strength Versus Aerobic Versus Relaxation Training for Patients With Mild to Moderate Depression. J Clin Psychiatry [Internet]. 2009 Jun 15 [cited 2022 Aug 4];70(6):4131. Available from: https://www.psychiatrist.com/jcp/depression/demo-trial-randomized-parallel-group-observer-blinded
  41. Bhui KS, Dinos S, Stansfeld SA, White PD. A Synthesis of the Evidence for Managing Stress at Work: A Review of the Reviews Reporting on Anxiety, Depression, and Absenteeism. J Environ Public Health [Internet]. 2012 [cited 2022 Aug 4];2012. Available from: /pmc/articles/PMC3306941/

This evidence summary has been updated in 2022.