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Exercising an hour per week can be a safe bet for keeping depression at bay

12-07 | Rachael

Exercising an hour per week can be a safe bet for keeping depression at bay

When a person struggles with the miseries of depression, it becomes quite difficult for him or her to perform the regular and basic tasks. Under such conditions, one of the last things a person would like to do is exercise. However,—as specified by numerous studies— exercise can make a big difference, especially in overcoming the depressive symptoms.

Regular physical exercise not only helps in improving one’s health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, etc. but also reduces the symptoms of depression, anxiety and other psychological issues. In fact, involvement in structured exercise has shown promising results in reducing the symptoms of clinical depression.

Moreover, one of the psychological benefits of exercise includes enhancement of self-esteem. This is because exercise helps in releasing the feel-good endorphins in the body that improves one’s well-being. Moreover, these endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain that plays a crucial role in reducing the perception of pain.

Even small amount of exercise can help prevent depression

According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, just one-hour of regular exercise (of any intensity) can prevent depression in the future, irrespective of age and gender. The landmark study led by the Black Dog Institute, highlighted that even small amount of exercise plays a pivotal role in ensuring the well-being of a person, both mentally and physically. Though several studies had already established the benefits of exercise in overcoming depression, it was for the first time that the preventive potential of physical activity was quantified.

In one of the largest and most extensive studies of its kind, around 33,908 Norwegian adults were monitored for over 11 years. The researchers used the data from the Health Study of Nord-Trøndelag County (HUNT study) conducted between Jan 1984 and June 1997. After assessing their levels of exercise and symptoms of depression and anxiety, researchers found that 12 percent of depression cases could be prevented by indulging in just one hour of physical activity each week.

The above finding provides assurance of safety from depression. According to Dr. Samuel Harvey, Lead author of the study from the University of New South Wales, exercise triggers this protective effect probably because of the combined impact of the various physical and social benefits of physical activity.

Lack of exercise increases risk of depression by 44 percent

The findings follow the Black Dog Institute’s recent ‘Exercise Your Mood’ campaign, which focused on improving physical and mental well-being through exercise. The participants were asked to brief about the frequency and intensity of exercise they carried out without becoming breathless or sweating, becoming breathless and sweating, or exhausting themselves. Researchers also accounted other related variables like socioeconomic and demographic factors, substance use, body mass index (BMI), onset of new physical illnesses and perceived social support.

At follow-up stage, the participants were asked to complete a self-report questionnaire (the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) to reflect the surfacing of anxiety or depression. It was found that the participants, who reported doing no exercise at all at baseline, had a 44 percent increased chances of developing depression compared to those exercising one to two hours a week. However, these benefits cannot shield a person completely from anxiety, with no recognized connection between the level of exercise and the chances of developing the disorder.

Road to recovery

As lifestyles are getting more sedentary worldwide along with diminishing physical activity, the proportion of mental distress is escalating at a rapid pace. Exercise and physical activity are great ways to ease the symptoms of depression or anxiety. However, if a person does not see any signs of improvement in his or her anxiety or depression levels, his or her condition can be considered intense. Hence, they should consult a professional health expert immediately.

If you know someone who is struggling with the symptoms of depression, contact the Depression Treatment Helpline of Colorado to access the best depression treatment centers in Colorado that deliver evidence-based intervention plans. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-427-5668 or chat online to know more about the depression treatment in Colorado.


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