If there were slave-drivers exerting force to make groups of depressed people more physically "active", that wouldn't help depression either. It would make the feelings of isolation, hopelessness, and helplessness worse, I'm guessing.
However, if you couple physical activity with accomplishment, increased health and ability, and other positives, I think it directly affects depression. Even just the act of taking action - leaving the house or moving your body has got to have a positive effect on your mood if it helps you break from the downward spiral of the doom thoughts.
That's not really what this study is about. The information regarding how the physical activity increased or didn't was limited - this was more about how the intervention offered to the subjects may or may not have changed their depression. (Definitely a topic that someone in charge of administering such care would need to know more about.)
"Adults presenting with depressing in primary care and receiving the TREAD (TREAtment of Depression with physical activity) intervention in addition to usual care reported increased physical activity compared with those receiving usual care alone, although there was no evidence to suggest that the intervention brought about any improvement in symptoms of depression or reduction in antidepressant use at the four month follow-up point. "
My final point is simply: "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink."
Get to it! "The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience..."-Eleanor Roosevelt
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