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Vigorous exercise in pragmatic settings leads to antidepressive, metabolic and cardiovascular health benefits in adult outpatients with major depression or anxiety disorders
  1. Ioannis D. Morres,
  2. George S. Metsios
  1. Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Thessaly, Trikala, Greece
  1. Correspondence to Assistant Professor Ioannis D. Morres, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Thessaly, Trikala, 42100, Greece; iomorres{at}

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Commentary on: Verhoeven JE, Han LKM, Lever-van Milligen BA, et al. Antidepressants or running therapy: comparing effects on mental and physical health in patients with depression and anxiety disorders. J Affect Disord 2023;329:19–29. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2023.02.064.

Implications for practice and research

  • Supervised outdoor running at vigorous intensity leads to antidepressant and physical health benefits in outpatients with major depression or anxiety disorders.

  • More pragmatic exercise trials for mental health outpatients with heterogeneous symptomatology are needed.


Exercise is associated with antidepressant effects in clinical settings but relevant research in pragmatic (real-life) settings is scarce.1–3 Hence, Verhoeven et al 4 in their pragmatic trial compared the mental and physical health benefits of running therapy versus antidepressant medication.


Participants were physically inactive adult outpatients with a current major depression or an anxiety disorder and were treated with benzodiazepines. Following a partial randomisation based on individual …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.