Physical activity interventions for depression in young people

‘Lifestyle medicine’ – which refers to low-cost, low-risk interventions that focus on factors such as physical activity, sleep, and nutrition – is increasingly seen as an important part of holistic mental health care. To achieve full recovery from mental ill-health, strategies are needed that target the symptoms and functional impairments, as well as the negative physical health consequences that commonly go hand-in-hand (Sarris et al., 2014). In the context of depression, physical activity has been suggested as a stand-alone or add-on treatment, both for its potential mood-boosting properties and its ability to produce physical health benefits (Salmon, 2001). This research bulletin provides an overview of recent evidence for the use of physical activity interventions for young people (12-25 years) experiencing depression.