Health & Fitness Regular exercise can cut your risk of depression - even if it runs in your family
Patients with heart problems benefit more from exercise than healthy people and can slash their risk of early death by 14 per cent with regular workouts, new study claims
A study presented in Paris of more than 400,000 middle-aged people found those with cardiovascular disease slashed their risk of an early death by 14 per cent if they regularly exercised. Mortality risk for healthy people who did the same level of exercise fell just 7 per cent. © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Patients with heart problems benefit twice as much from exercise as healthy people Experts said it is the first time research has shown patients with heart problems get a much bigger survival boost from being active.
- According to a published in the journal Depression & Anxiety, those who are generally more physically active are about 20 percent less likely to be diagnosed with depression.
- Regularly exercising 35 to 45 minutes per day—even if depression runs in your family—can notably benefit your mental health.
- While exercise may alleviate depression symptoms for some people—or even prevent them from occurring—talk with a doctor about treatment options if you are experiencing signs of depression or know you have a high risk.
If you have close relatives with chronic depression, your odds of developing the condition are about. But that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable, especially if you’re establishing lifestyle habits that can help. Most notably, exercise can be a boon, new research suggests. Best of all, it doesn’t take much extra activity to lower your risk.
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Using data from nearly 8,000 participants in the Partners Healthcare Biobank—a long-term research project that collects genetic and health information—researchers looked at two years of lifestyle habits, including physical activity and diagnoses related to depression, in apublished in the journal Depression & Anxiety.
They also calculated genetic risk scores for each participant, and found that those with higher genetic links to depression were more likely to be diagnosed with depression within the study timeframe.
However, those who were more physically active were 20 percent less likely to be diagnosed with depression at the end of the two-year period. Those with the least amount of activity—about a half hour to an hour per week of exercise—had the highest levels of depression. But just a few more hours per week—an average of three hours, or around 35 to 45 minutes per day—saw considerable decreases in depression risk, and the more activity was reported, the lower those risks became.
Carrying too much extra fat can up your odds of depression by 17%
It’s not BMI that matters for your risk, researchers found.
All forms of activity—both high intensity and low intensity—counted as well, including running, other forms of aerobic exercise, strength training, dance, yoga, and stretching. This was true even after adjusting for factors such as prior depression, education, and employment status.
“Our findings suggest that when it comes to depression, genes are not destiny, and that being physically active has the potential to neutralize the added risk of future episodes in individuals who are genetically vulnerable,” lead study author, clinical fellow in psychiatry at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Massachusetts General Hospital, told Runner’s World. She said that even without a genetic link, exercise could be protective for reducing depression risk.
The work of Choi and her colleagues adds to similar research—studies like, , and —that connects exercise to both prevention of depression and management of the condition.
Physical activity can 'significantly decrease likelihood of depression'
Being physically active can significantly lower chances of developing depression, study claimsThe team from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) examined the health records of close to 8,000 participants in the Partners Healthcare Biobank health programme and calculated genetic risk scores for patients who had received a diagnosis of depression.
In terms of why exercise is so effective, Choi said previous research suggests physical activity creates a number of benefits that affect brain health and emotional regulation, for example, by reducing inflammation, increasing positive hormones such as endorphins and dopamine, and improving sleep.
Keep in mind that while exercise may alleviate depression symptoms for some people—or even prevent onset to some degree—it’s not a mental-health panacea, and results may vary. If you have high risk of depression or are experiencing—such as ongoing lack of energy, sadness, anger, anxiety, or insomnia—talk with a doctor about treatment options.
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