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Boosting Physical Activity for Depression: A Hopeful Approach for In-Patient Treatment


Clinical trial finds that boosting physical activity for depression is beneficial

Taking part in physical activity is crucial for our overall well-being, especially for people with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Researchers developed an exciting program to encourage physical activity among patients staying in the hospital for depression treatment. This clinical trial aimed to see how well the program worked in the short term. 


The trial involved adults who were diagnosed with MDD and didn't engage in enough physical activity. It took place in four psychiatric clinics in Switzerland. The researchers divided the participants into two groups. The intervention group included 113 people (average age 42, with 56% women), while the control group had 107 people (average age 40, with 49% women). To understand the participants' motivation and behavior toward physical activity, the researchers asked them questions and conducted tests. They also measured physical activity using small devices called accelerometers worn on the hips. The data collection lasted for seven days.


The researchers discovered some interesting things about the participants' physical activity levels. The first finding was about the number of steps taken each day. The group that received the special intervention took, on average, 1,323 fewer steps per day compared to the control group. This difference was significant, suggesting that the intervention had an impact. However, it's important to note that taking fewer steps isn't ideal because physical activity is generally good for our health.

Another finding was related to moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The intervention group showed a trend of spending around 8.37 minutes less time engaged in such activities per day compared to the control group. Although this difference was not statistically significant, it suggests that the intervention may have influenced the amount of time spent in more intense physical activities.

On the other hand, the trial did not find any significant changes in the participants' motivation and attitude toward physical activity after the initial phase of the intervention.


The results of this trial highlight the importance of physical activity counseling for people with depression who are staying in the hospital. While the short-term outcomes showed a decrease in physical activity levels, it's essential to understand that the intervention was still valuable for several reasons.

The findings suggest that more attention needs to be given to the intervention during the in-patient treatment period. Researchers and healthcare professionals should explore ways to improve the program so that it can have a more positive impact on physical activity levels. By doing so, they can take full advantage of this opportunity to support individuals with depression on their path to recovery.

Encouraging physical activity is a crucial part of helping people with depression. Engaging in regular exercise can improve mood, reduce symptoms, and promote overall well-being. By integrating physical activity into treatment plans, healthcare providers can play an important role in supporting the mental health of their patients.


This clinical trial shows that physical activity counseling has great potential in assisting individuals with Major Depressive Disorder during their stay in the hospital. Although the short-term results didn't show significant improvements in motivation and attitude towards physical activity, they provide valuable insights for improving interventions. By focusing on physical activity as part of treatment, healthcare professionals can contribute to the comprehensive care and well-being of individuals with depression, empowering them to lead healthier and happier lives.


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Frontiers, Jan-18-23

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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.