Even a little exercise appears to prevent depression in new study

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This month’s research points to mental health benefits from exercising regularly. The review found that those who reported being physically active were less likely to be diagnosed with depression later. This association was most pronounced in people who appeared to meet the recommended amount of exercise in a week, but it could still be seen in people who exercised more than half.

Exercise is one of the healthiest things a person can do, and many studies in recent years have found That it can keep both body and mind sharp. physical activity is known To help people severely suffering from mental health problems, along with other treatments. But this new research, published This April in JAMA Psychiatry, tries to measure the protective effect that different levels of exercise can have in preventing depression.

The study reviewed data from 15 population studies, which included nearly 200,000 people. Importantly, these were prospective studies, meaning that people’s health outcomes were intentionally tracked from the start – in contrast, a retrospective study One can only look back in time, which makes it difficult to confirm a cause-and-effect link between a factor and a health outcome. As part of these reviewed studies, participants were asked about their level of physical activity and their history of clinical depression.

The study found that people who reported being physically active had a significantly lower risk of depression, compared to people who did not report being physically active. More specifically, people who meet the minimum duration of exercise recommended by many public health organizations – the equivalent of about two and a half hours of brisk walking Week- had a 25% lower risk of depression. But those who exercised half as much still had an 18% lower risk, while only a “modest additional benefit” was seen in those who exercised more. Based on their modeling, they also estimated that if less active people could meet the recommended level of physical activity, 11% of future depression cases could be prevented.

The authors note that their work may underestimate the effect of exercise on depression risk. For example, one possibility is that people who were depressed but not yet diagnosed at the start of the study would also be less likely to exercise. To help narrow down this potential issue, they only analyzed studies with long follow-up times (at least three years), but they noted that some bias may still exist. And authors call for more Studies that can better rule out any confounding factors and strengthen A motivational link between exercise and prevention Why depression?

That said, a lot of studies have shown that exercise can direct and indirect effects on people’s well-being and risk factors for depression, from mood boost The social bond that people feel when they exercise (the famous runner’s high) can create this for people who attend gym class or walk group. also only latest study To suggest that any amount of exercise, no matter how much you get at it, is better than none.

The findings, the authors say, suggest that “substantial mental health benefits can be achieved at physical activity levels even below public health recommendations.”


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