Depression is a debilitating condition, significantly reducing the quality of life and oftentimes ending with death. Scientists have been trying to improve depression therapy, but so far results have been limited. But now researchers from The Black Dog Institute, UNSW Sydney and Western Sydney University conducted an international study, which showed that physical exercise can effectively protect from depression.
It is a very well-known fact that physical activity is good for your mental health. However, now scientists are sure that it has nothing to do with f age and geographical region, because this new research included 49 unique studies from Brazil, Belgium, Australia, USA, UK and Sweden. In total, data about 266,939 individuals was included into this new study, which revealed that those who exercise frequently have lower odds of developing depression. Scientists say that this study is a strong argument for policy change, to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to exercise.
It is quite interesting that this effect has nothing to do with gender and even geographical location – everyone can benefit from exercising more. More frequent exercise, higher levels of physical activity decrease the risk of depression in children, adults and older adults. And it is not just because these people are healthier – scientists did take into account body mass index, smoking and physical health conditions and other important factors. This basically means that it is never too late to change and at least reduce the risk of developing depression later in life. These are great news, because physical activity already brings a big number of other health benefits.
Physical activity reduces the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even stroke. Add depression to this list and you see a clear path to a better quality of life in later years. Dr Joseph Firth, co-author of the study, said: “The compelling evidence presented here provides an even stronger case for engaging all people in regular physical activity; through schools, workplaces, leisure programs and elsewhere, in order to reduce the risk of depression across the lifespan”.
Depression affects millions of lives. Sometimes it is triggered by some traumatic event and sometimes it starts completely unexpectedly. While scientists are trying to find reliable ways to cure depression, you should do your part to minimize its risk – exercise.
Source: UNSW Sydney