Effects of Exercise on Anhedonia and Depression

Statement of Problem Persons who suffer from major depressive disorders often experience high levels of anhedonia, an inability to experience pleasure. To experience true relief from a major depressive disorder, sufferers need to experience both a decrease in the negative feelings associated with depression and an increase in the ability to experience pleasure. Sources of Data Three databases were searched to find previous studies regarding this topic. Inclusion criteria included exercise, anhedonia and depression. Fourteen articles were selected for systematic review. Articles reviewed included meta-analyses, previous systematic reviews, randomized control trials, cross-sectional survey studies and controlled trials. Conclusions Reached Studies support an inverse relationship between exercise and negative symptoms of depression. Increased exercise correlates with decreased depression. A similar inverse relationship is found between exercise and anhedonia. Increased exercise correlates with decreased anhedonia. Though studies varied in types and amounts of exercise, there is broad agreement that a minimum of three exercise sessions per week lasting at least 30 minutes may provide a positive effect in both depressive symptoms and anhedonia in patients with depression.