Chiropractors have always understood that movement is life – meaning we must keep moving to be healthy! We know this applies for physical health, but research has been demonstrating for a number of years that movement is just as important for mental health.

A new study, published online May 9 in JAMA Psychiatry, backs this up by showing that resistance exercise training (RET) significantly reduces depressive symptoms. And just in case you are wondering if resistance exercise training is something new and fancy, it isn’t! RET is simply lifting weights in the gym.

Research in to RET and mental health has been going on for years. In the new study investigators analysed other scientific studies that encompassed almost 2000 participants who engaged in RET and found that the RET was associated with a significant reduction in depressive symptoms, regardless of how long the intervention or sessions lasted, how frequent they were, or how much exercise was prescribed!

These benefits were seen in both men and women and in participants with physical and mental illnesses, and even with participants who didn’t experience an increase in strength.

The lead author, Brett Gordon, MSc, postgraduate researcher, Physical Education and Sports Sciences Department, University of Limerick, Ireland, comments:

“The available empirical evidence supports [the finding] that RET may be an effective alternative or adjuvant therapy for depressive symptoms…. The best advice is to exercise and/or to engage in recommended levels of physical activity, regardless of type”.

The authors call exercise interventions “promising treatments for depressive symptoms,” because they are “free from the adverse effects and high costs associated with antidepressant medications and psychotherapy”.

Gary Cooney, MBChB, MRCPsych, registrar in psychiatry, Gartnavel Royal Hospital, Glasgow, United Kingdom, who was not involved with the study, said the study “gives stronger evidence than perhaps has been previously demonstrated that resistance training can be helpful for depressive symptoms” — a finding he called “quite important”.

He encouraged “routinely recommending exercise” to patients with depressive disorders because “there appears to be a growing body of evidence supporting exercise in the treatment of a range of mental health conditions”.

It has certainly been my experience, over the years, that patients with depressive disorders do a lot better when they include exercise as part of their treatment. Weight training can be recommended for patients of any age (although those who are teens or seniors would usually require supervision).

So to be at your mental best, keep your body moving well with chiropractic and try some resistance/weight training out. If you are concerned about whether your body will handle new and different exercises, the chiropractors at CCSCC will be happy to give you a checkup, and can help with exercise ideas or recommend qualified exercise trainers that can help.


Gordon BR, McDowell CP, Hallgren M, Meyer JD, Lyons M, Herring MP. Association of Efficacy of Resistance Exercise Training With Depressive SymptomsMeta-analysis and Meta-regression Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online May 09, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.0572