Journal:The Journal of Injury, Function, and Rehabilitation
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):12, 2, 10, 911-919
Study investigated whether a structured aerobic exercise regimen would decrease the severity of depressive symptoms in people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who reported at least mild depression severity at baseline. Subjects with a history of a prior TBI (6 months to 5 years post-injury) were randomly assigned to the exercise or control group. The exercise group participated in weekly, supervised sessions over a 10-week period that consisted of education, warm-up, 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, and cool down. The exercise intensity was adjusted to reach a heart rate goal of 60 percent of the participant’s estimated maximal heart rate. Both groups completed baseline and 10-week assessments that included the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), measures of physical symptoms often associated with depression and general health status, and assessment of activity and participation. The data were compared between exercise and control groups. Post hoc analyses compared participants exercising at least 90 minutes (high activity) with those exercising less than 90 minutes (low activity) per week. Between-group comparisons at 10 weeks revealed no difference between groups on the BDI. For the groups divided by minutes exercised per week, the high-activity group had significantly better depression scores than those in the low-activity group. Although there was no statistically significant difference between the treated and the control group on mood after intervention, those with TBI who reported higher levels of exercise per week also reported less depression and improved sleep, community participation, and overall quality of life.