Prevention of depression by increasing physical activity & exercise


Exercise can help prevent depression even for those at high risk

Depression is a serious mental disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. Because depression has such a big impact on people's lives, it is important to have effective strategies for dealing with it.
These strategies may include the use of medication and/or psychology and psychotherapy counselling. However, there are other strategies that can help to treat depression, such as physical activity and diet.
Exercise, in particular, has been shown to help improve the psychological state of people suffering from depression. Physical activity can help increase confidence, energy and stamina, and can also improve mood and reduce the intensity of depression symptoms.
Depression is a condition that affects not only the mind but also the body. Research has shown that physical activity can have positive effects on coping with depression. Listed below are some ways in which physical activity can help in dealing with depression:
  1. Improving mood: Physical activity helps increase levels of serotonin, which is a substance associated with improved mood.
  2. Reduction of stress: Exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, two emotions often associated with depression.
  3. Improving sleep: Physical activity can improve the quality of sleep, which can affect the state of depression.
  4. Increase self-confidence: there has been a lot of research showing that physical activity can improve self-esteem and reduce depression. There are several ways in which exercise can help increase self-confidence, including:
  5. Increase in physical strength and energy: Exercise can help increase physical strength and energy, as well as improve endurance. This can lead to greater self-confidence and a positive self-perception.
  6. Improving the appearance: Exercise can improve a person's body appearance and body image. This can improve self-esteem, increase self-confidence and improve the psychology of the individual.
Increasing physical activity & exercise could help prevent depression, even if there is a genetic risk factor, new research shows.
The study analysed data from nearly 8,000 people and showed that people with a genetic predisposition to depression were more likely to be diagnosed with the condition in the next two years. However, people who were more active at the start of the study were less likely to be diagnosed with depression, even if they had an inherited risk. This shows that higher levels of physical activity can help protect against depression, even if there is a high genetic risk.
The study analysed data from nearly 8,000 people and found that those with a genetic predisposition are more likely to be diagnosed with depression in the next two years, but this is less likely for people who exercise more often. Both high-intensity exercise and lower-intensity activities are associated with a reduced risk of depression. Specifically, adding four hours of exercise per week can reduce the risk of a new episode of depression by 17%, according to the study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety.
The findings of this study are very encouraging as they show that physical activity can counteract the risk of recurrence of depression in people who are genetically vulnerable. The study shows that adding an extra 35 minutes of physical activity each day can reduce the risk by 17%, so physical activity can have a very positive effect on people's mental health. It is important to note that the study does not prove a cause and effect relationship between physical activity and depression, but it does suggest a correlation between the two.

"Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide."

"Our findings strongly suggest that when it comes to depression, genes are not the patient's destiny and that physical activity has the potential to counteract the additional risk of future episodes in genetically vulnerable individuals," said lead author Karmel Choi, a clinical associate of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and the T.H. Chan at Harvard in Boston.
"On average, about 35 extra minutes of physical activity each day can help people reduce their risk and protect against future episodes of depression," Choi said in a hospital press release.
"The magnitude of depression worldwide underscores the need for effective strategies that can affect as many people as possible," Choi said. Mental health providers and primary care professionals can use the findings to advise patients that "here's something important they can do to reduce their risk even if they have a family history of depression," he suggested.
More information
The US National Institute of Mental Health has more on the depression.
SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, press release, November 5, 2019 Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
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