Daily Health Headlines

More Evidence That Exercise May Help Fight Depression

👤by Randy Dotinga 0 comments 🕔Friday, October 17th, 2014

THURSDAY, Oct. 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physically active people are less likely to show signs of depression, a new study finds.

And exercise can help improve mood in people who already feel depressed, but there's a catch: Depressive symptoms appear to be a barrier to physical activity, the British researchers said.

The findings, based on 11,000 adults ages 23 to 50, correlate with previous research suggesting that exercise can have a powerful effect on depression, although it's far from a cure-all.

"Exercise is good for you," said Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, a leading researcher into the effects of physical activity who wasn't involved in the study. "It improves your mental health and lowers your chances of getting depressed."

It may seem obvious that exercise improves mood, but it's been difficult to prove scientifically. One of the challenges is that depressed people tend to be withdrawn and don't want to engage in any kind of activity. If they do exercise, it might be because their depression is starting to lift for some reason that has nothing to do with their activity level, experts say.

The new research, published online Oct. 15 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, relied on data from a large study of people born during a single week in March 1958 in Great Britain.

The researchers, from University College London and Canada's McGill University, assessed common depressive symptoms -- including sleep disturbance, fatigue, irritability and anxiety at the ages of 23, 33, 42 and 50.

The study design relied on complex statistical formulas and found that people who exercise more have fewer symptoms of depression. Also, in younger people, those who exercised more had fewer depression symptoms over time.

Among those inactive at any age, boosting activity from never to three times a week reduced the odds of depression by 19 percent five years later, the researchers found.

On the other hand, those who were inactive at age 23 and were still inactive five years later showed no change in the number of depressive symptoms, the researchers said.

These trends held up even when the researchers adjusted their statistics for factors such as education levels.

The study can't prove that exercise lifts depression. However, it "adds much more confidence to what we know," said Trivedi, director of the Comprehensive Center for Depression at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

"People who exercise have less depression, and once someone's depressed, exercise leads to improvements in depression," said Trivedi.

It's not clear how exercise may help lift depression, but Trivedi said one possibility is that it boosts the creation of new brain cells and new connections in the brain.

Forty-five minutes of moderate exercise four to five times a week can make a big difference, Trivedi said.

However, he cautioned that it's difficult for depressed people to help themselves by becoming more active.

"If you do get depressed, try to muster as much support from your environment as you can to get into exercise since it'll be harder for you to exercise than your neighbor who isn't depressed," he explained.

But depressed people shouldn't attempt to treat themselves, Trivedi added. "It does not matter which treatment they're using -- medication, psychotherapy, exercise. They should do it under the guidance of a health care provider," he said.

Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, agreed.

"The study does suggest that depression takes away the inclination to be active," he said.

"We should respect that, treat it as a barrier that first needs to be addressed directly," Katz added.

Once symptoms are under control, he said, "then encourage exercise as part of the definitive treatment."

Article Credits / Source

Randy Dotinga / HealthDay

Randy Dotinga wrote this story for HealthDay. HealthDay provides up to the minute breaking health news. Click here to view this full article from HealthDay.

SOURCES: Madhukar Trivedi, M.D., professor, psychiatry, chair of mental health, and director, Comprehensive Center for Depression, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., Yale University Prevention Research Center, New Haven, Conn.; Oct. 15, 2014, JAMA Psychiatry

View More Articles From Randy Dotinga 🌎View Article Website

Sponsored Product

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

People who have trouble sleeping typically have low levels of melatonin, so melatonin supplements seem like a logical fix for insomnia. There is a high demand for sleep aids, especially in the U.S. The National Health Interview Survey done in 2002, and again in 2007, found 1.6 million US adults were using complementary and alternative sleep aids for insomnia. Lunar Sleep was a top choice. Use Promo Code: Sleep2014 and only pay $1.95 S&H.

Get Lunar Sleep for $1.95

More Depression Articles

Sunday's Time Change Offers a Mixed Bag

Sunday's Time Change Offers a Mixed Bag0

FRIDAY, Nov. 4, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- When the clocks are turned back one hour on Sunday morning, many will welcome the extra sleep. But some will feel sluggish for the first few days after the time change. And, new research indicates that ...

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)0

Seasonal affective disorder facts Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a kind of depression that tends to occur (and recur) as the hours of daylight grow shorter during the fall and winter months, but it may occur during the summer for some ...

Antidepressants (Depression Medications)

Antidepressants (Depression Medications)0

home / depression center / depression a-z list / antidepressants index / antidepressants (depression medications) drug monograph Pharmacy Author: Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD Omudhome Ogbru, PharmDDr. Ogbru ...

Depression Can Fuel Heart Disease in Midlife Women: Study

Depression Can Fuel Heart Disease in Midlife Women: Study0

THURSDAY, Oct. 6, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Women in midlife with a history of depression appear at markedly greater risk of suffering from heart disease, new research suggests. The finding seems to reinforce the well-known link between ...

'The Pill' May Raise Depression Risk

'The Pill' May Raise Depression Risk0

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Women who use hormonal methods for birth control, such as "the pill," may have a slightly higher risk of developing depression -- and teenagers may be most vulnerable, a large study ...

View More Depression Articles


Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest health news as it breaks!

Your information will not be shared with anyone!