We examined the possible mediating role of physical self-perceptions, physical self-esteem, and global self-esteem in the relationships between exercise and depression in a group of socioeconomically disadvantaged women with elevated symptoms of depression. Forty-four female residents of a low-income housing complex were randomized into a 7-week-long exercise-training group or a wait-list group. Depression, physical self-perceptions and self-esteem were measured repeatedly. Significant changes were found for depression, self-esteem, physical self-worth, and self-perceived physical condition in the exercise-training group. Intent-to-treat analyses did not alter the results. Most of the reduction in depression occurred between Week 2 and Week 4 while initial improvement in physical self-worth and self-perceived physical condition was observed between baseline and Week 2. These variables can be seen as plausible mechanisms for effects of exercise on depression.
Fabien Legrand and Jean Philippe Heuze
In this article, we examined the antidepressant influence of an 8-week-long aerobic exercise intervention in which two training parameters were manipulated: exercise frequency and group environment. Twenty-three individuals with elevated symptoms of depression were recruited in a sport and fitness facility and agreed to participate in this 8-week study. They were randomly assigned to three groups: (a) low-frequency exercise (control) (n = 7), (b) high-frequency exercise (n = 8), and (c) high-frequency exercise + group-based intervention (n = 8). Participants completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) at study entry, and at 4 and 8 weeks subsequently. The results showed that those in the high-frequency aerobic exercise experimental groups reported lower depression scores than those in the low-frequency (control) group at 4 weeks (13.2 ± 7.3 and 11.7 ± 3.1 vs. 22.4 ± 7.5) and 8 weeks (10.9 ± 8.1 and 9.6 ± 2.5 vs. 20.7 ± 6.3). However, alleviation in depressive symptoms was not found to be greater in those participants who received a group-based intervention.
Fabien D. Legrand, William M. Bertucci, and Joanne Hudson
A crossover experiment was performed to determine whether age and sex, or their interaction, affect the impact of acute aerobic exercise on vigor-activity (VA). We also tested whether changes in VA mediated exercise effects on performance on various cognitive tasks. Sixty-eight physically inactive volunteers participated in exercise and TV-watching control conditions. They completed the VA subscale of the Profile of Mood States immediately before and 2 min after the intervention in each condition. They also performed the Trail Making Test 3 min after the intervention in each condition. Statistical analyses produced a condition × age × sex interaction characterized by a higher mean VA gain value in the exercise condition (compared with the VA gain value in the TV-watching condition) for young female participants only. In addition, the mediational analyses revealed that changes in VA fully mediated the effects of exercise on TMT-Part A performance.