Reduces unemployment and sickness absence in depression
The percentage of days absent from work at 12 months follow-up was reduced in trials comparing strength and aerobic exercise to relaxation groups. The strength (p = 0.009) and aerobic (p = 0.5) group showed reductions compared to the relaxation group.22 A review of reviews support the use of organisational physical activity programmes to reduce absenteeism.23 The expert group was of the opinion that activity programmes help depressed individuals regain some structure to their daily routine.
Quality of evidence
Strength of recommendation
There is limited evidence that physical activity reduces absenteeism from work, however this remains a strong recommendation supported by expert opinion.
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- 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. 2010;11(9):934-940.
- 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. 2013;75(4):366-374.
- Chalder M, Wiles NJ, Campbell J, et al. Facilitated physical activity as a treatment for depressed adults: randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2012;344:e2758.
- 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. 2011;61(585):149-156.
- Fox KR. The influence of physical activity on mental well-being. Public Health Nutr. 1999;2(3A):411-418.
- Knapen J, Vancampfort D, Moriën Y, Marchal Y. Exercise therapy improves both mental and physical health in patients with major depression. Disabil Rehabil. 2015;37(16):1490-1495.
- Cooney GM, Dwan K, Greig CA, et al. Exercise for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013(9):CD004366.
- Schuch FB, Vancampfort D, Rosenbaum S, et al. Exercise for depression in older adults: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials adjusting for publication bias. Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 2016;38(3):247-254.
- de Souza Moura AM, Lamego MK, Paes F, et al. Comparison Among Aerobic Exercise and Other Types of Interventions to Treat Depression: A Systematic Review. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2015;14(9):1171-1183.
- Nyström MB, Neely G, Hassmén P, Carlbring P. Treating Major Depression with Physical Activity: A Systematic Overview with Recommendations. Cogn Behav Ther. 2015;44(4):341-352.
- Wegner M, Helmich I, Machado S, Nardi AE, 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;13(6):1002-1014.
- 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. 2014;75(9):964-974.
- 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;77:42-51.
- 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;241:47-54.
- Puetz TW. Physical activity and feelings of energy and fatigue: epidemiological evidence. Sports Med. 2006;36(9):767-780.
- Brené S, Bjørnebekk A, Aberg E, Mathé AA, Olson L, Werme M. Running is rewarding and antidepressive. Physiol Behav. 2007;92(1-2):136-140.
- Leventhal AM. Relations between anhedonia and physical activity. Am J Health Behav. 2012;36(6):860-872.
- Yeh SH, Lin LW, Chuang YK, et al. Effects of music aerobic exercise on depression and brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in community dwelling women. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:135893.
- Greer TL, Grannemann BD, Chansard M, Karim AI, Trivedi MH. Dose-dependent changes in cognitive function with exercise augmentation for major depression: results from the TREAD study. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015;25(2):248-256.
- 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. 2009;70(6):790-800.
- 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. 2012;2012:515874.