Resistance training improves depression in female patients with multiple sclerosis

Document Type : Original Article


1 Education Administration in Shiraz

2 Department of Exercise physiology, Marvdasht branch, Islamic Azad University, Marvdasht, Iran


Introduction: Depression may affect up to 50% of the multiple sclerosis (MS) population and can significantly impact other symptoms such as fatigue and pain, as well as negatively affecting cognition and quality of life. Exercise may be a potential treatment to prevent or reduce depressive symptoms in individuals with MS, but existing studies do not allow solid conclusions. The present study was conducted to determine the effect of 8 weeks resistance exercise on depression, adrenocotrotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol concentration in female patients with MS.
Material & Methods: 27 women with MS (mean of age of 32.3 ± 6.9 years) with Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores lower than 4.5 were randomly assigned to training or control group. The training group performed progressive resistance training program, 3 days a week for 8 weeks, whereas control group continued their usual routine activities. Depression was measured by Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and plasma level of ACTH and cortisol were measured by ELISA kits before and after training. Data were analyzed by ANCOVA.
Results: Results of ANCOVA test indicated that BDI score improves after 8 weeks resistance training (F=12.3, P=0.001). ACTH concentrations were increased (F=26.6, P=0.001) and cortisol levels were decreased (F=26.0, P=0.001) significantly after the intervention.
Conclusions: These results suggest that resistance training improves depression symptoms and its related hormones in female patients with MS.