Comparison of moderate and vigorous walking exercise on reducing depression in middle-aged and older adults: A pilot randomized controlled trial

Danny J. Yu, Angus P. Yu, Chit K. Leung, Edwin C. Chin, Daniel Y. Fong, Calvin P. Cheng, Suk Y. Yau, Parco M. Siu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The optimal intensity of physical activity for alleviating depression in middle-aged and older adults remains unclear. The World Health Organization (WHO) physical activity guidelines recommend adults and older adults to accumulate at least 150–300 minutes of moderate or 75–150 minutes of vigorous aerobic-type physical activity weekly or an equivalent combination of both for health benefits including reduced risk of depression. This parallel, assessor-blinded, pilot randomized controlled trial preliminarily compared the effectiveness of the minimal volume of aerobic-type physical activity at different intensities as recommended by WHO (150 minutes of moderate walking exercise and 75 minutes of vigorous walking exercise weekly) on alleviating depression in middle-aged and older adults. Thirty-five participants were randomized to the control group (CON), moderate walking exercise group (MOD), or vigorous walking exercise group (VIG). The exercise frequency was three times a week and the intervention duration was 12 weeks. The primary outcome was the severity of depression assessed by Beck Depression Inventory. Secondary outcomes included severity of anxiety, sleep quality, quality of life, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Thirty participants completed the study (CON: n = 10, MOD: n = 10, VIG: n = 10). Participants in both MOD and VIG had significantly decreased depression severity after the intervention compared to CON (both p < 0.001). There was no significant difference between MOD and VIG (p = 0.92). Both MOD and VIG interventions also mitigated anxiety severity, improved quality of life and cardiorespiratory fitness. The minimum volume of walking exercise at either moderate or vigorous intensity was found to alleviate depression in middle-aged and older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1018-1027
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Volume23
Issue number6
Early online date13 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

User-Defined Keywords

  • Clinical depression
  • Mood disorders
  • Brisk walk
  • Exercise intensity

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