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Tags: exercise | depression | risk

Exercisers Have Lower Risk for Depression: Study

seniors smiling while exercising together
(Dreamstime)

Wednesday, 13 April 2022 01:31 PM

By now, most people have heard that exercise is good for their health.

A new review suggests it can also make a difference in major depressive disorder.

Researchers analyzed 15 existing studies with data on exercise and depression, finding an association between physical activity and depression risk. The investigators estimated that almost 12% of cases of depression could have been prevented with a certain amount of exercise.

It didn't take much.

Physical activity was associated with significant mental health benefits, even when someone wasn't exercising as hard or as often as public health recommendations, according to the researchers, led by Soren Brage and James Woodcock, from the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine in England.

People engaging in brisk walking for 2.5 hours a week had a lower risk of depression than those who didn't exercise at all, the study found.

"Any movement, every movement, every step counts. It doesn't have to be as much as you need for physical health. You can get by with half of that, and this is very consistent with the literature," said Jennifer Heisz, a neuroscientist who was not involved in this study.

Heisz is an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

The 15 studies analyzed for this new paper included more than 191,000 participants in all.

The researchers found that people who accumulated half the recommended amount of physical activity had an 18% lower risk of depression compared to adults with no activity. Those who accumulated the recommended hours had a 25% lower risk of depression. Benefits diminished with exercise above that level.

Depression affects about 280 million people throughout the world and is the leading cause of mental health-related disease burden, the study noted. It is associated with premature death from suicide and health issues.

Estimating the dose of exercise needed can be challenging, the authors said.

A lot of people who have depression go undiagnosed, Heisz said. It can also be difficult to motivate people living with depression to get moving, so the information that any movement can add benefit may be helpful for those individuals, she said.

People should try to move a little every day, Heisz suggested. Maybe it's a five-minute or 10-minute walk. It could be a two-minute movement break every 30 minutes for people who sit all day.

"That's how simple we need to get, especially for people who are not moving at all, and to acknowledge that there is this additional barrier of motivation for people who are suffering from depression," she said.

"I think that the accumulating evidence is clear that we need to start having a conversation around the benefits of exercise for these individuals, either on its own or as an add-on therapy for medication," Heisz said.

Dr. Antonia Baum is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

In treating depression, there is a role for exercise, for psychotherapy, for taking away drugs of abuse and for adding medications specifically targeted to be therapeutic, said Baum, who had no role in this study.

© HealthDay


Health-News
By now, most people have heard that exercise is good for their health. A new review suggests it can it also make a difference in major depressive disorder. Researchers analyzed 15 existing studies with data on exercise and depression, finding an association between physical...
exercise, depression, risk
517
2022-31-13
Wednesday, 13 April 2022 01:31 PM
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