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Rehabilitation Research and Practice
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 627376, 8 pages
Research Article

Effect of Aerobic Exercise Training on Chinese Population with Mild to Moderate Depression in Hong Kong

1Physiotherapy Department, Tai Po Hospital, Wing E, Ground Floor, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong
2Department of Psychiatry, Tai Po Hospital, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong

Received 24 December 2013; Revised 13 February 2014; Accepted 24 February 2014; Published 30 March 2014

Academic Editor: Jari P. A. Arokoski

Copyright © 2014 Cassandra W. H. Ho et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Exercise has been suggested to be a viable treatment for depression. This study investigates the effect of supervised aerobic exercise training on depressive symptoms and physical performance among Chinese patients with mild to moderate depression in early in-patient phase. Methods. A randomized repeated measure and assessor-blinded study design was used. Subjects in aerobic exercise group received 30 minutes of aerobic training, five days a week for 3 weeks. Depressive symptoms (MADRS and C-BDI) and domains in physical performance were assessed at baseline and program end. Results. Subjects in aerobic exercise group showed a more significant reduction in depressive scores (MADRS) as compared to control (between-group mean difference = 10.08 ± 9.41; ) after 3 weeks training. The exercise group also demonstrated a significant improvement in flexibility (between-group mean difference = 4.4 ± 6.13; ). Limitations. There was lack of longitudinal followup to examine the long-term effect of aerobic exercise on patients with depression. Conclusions. Aerobic exercise in addition to pharmacological intervention can have a synergistic effect in reducing depressive symptoms and increasing flexibility among Chinese population with mild to moderate depression. Early introduction of exercise training in in-patient phase can help to bridge the gap of therapeutic latency of antidepressants during its nonresponse period.