More pronounced effect seen for moderate- versus low- and high-intensity exercise and for three to four times/week
By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter
THURSDAY, Nov. 30, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Aerobic exercise is efficacious for preventing and treating postpartum depression, according to a review published online Nov. 29 in PLOS Medicine.
Hao Xu, Ph.D., from the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to examine the effect of aerobic exercise on postpartum depression. Twenty-six studies with 2,867 participants were included.
The researchers found that aerobic exercise was efficacious for preventing and treating postpartum depression compared with standard care (mean difference, â1.90). There were significant differences observed based on the intervention objective (prevention versus treatment). On analysis of the effect sizes of subgroups, the supervised exercise group had slightly better performance than the unsupervised group (â1.66 versus 1.37), and the team exercise group slightly outperformed the individual exercise group (â1.43 versus â1.28). A more pronounced intervention effect was seen for the moderate-intensity (35 to 45 minutes) versus the low-intensity (50 to 60 minutes) and high-intensity (20 to 30 minutes) groups (â2.63 and â2.96, respectively). Compared with the group exercising one to two and five to six times per week, the group exercising three to four times per week had a more significant intervention effect (â2.91 and â3.28, respectively). In pairwise comparisons of intervention effects among the five common types of aerobic exercises, no significant differences were observed.
“Taken together, the efficacy of aerobic exercise in preventing and treating postpartum depression is significant compared to standard care, with a greater emphasis on prevention,” the authors write.
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