Could lifting weights take a weight off the mind? Yes, said a newly published analysis of dozens of studies that looked at mood disorders.
Whether it's the weight room or the mat, the authors of the study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, said resistance training can also help people suffering with depression.
Plus, the authors found that almost 70 percent of patients in the studies still reported feeling down for up to 14 weeks after starting therapy -- and close to a third of patients had to try four different medications to get relief.
Resistance training -- everything from arm raises and leg lifts to weight training -- alleviated depression symptoms, study participants said. The largest gains were made by patients who reported mild to moderate depression.
The analysis was limited in some ways. These were a mix of studies and not every study had the same forms of resistance training or the same amount of information about the specific exercises. Only a few studies compared aerobic to resistance exercises -- and found there was no difference.
Sunny Intwala, M.D., is a third-year Cardiology fellow affiliated with Boston University School of Medicine and a Clinical Exercise Physiologist who works in the ABC News Medical Unit.