Need another reason to exercise? The results of a new study have provided some valuable evidence to suggest how simply exercising three times a week could reduce your risk of being affected by depression by around 16 percent, and an extra session a week could drop the risk even further.
The study, which was conducted as a part of a public health research, has found how there is a clear relationship between physical activity and reduced depression. “Assuming the association is causal, leisure time physical activity has a protective effect against depression,” said Snehal Pinto Pereira of University College London’s Institute of Child Health, who led the study.
Individuals between 20-40 years of age who do not exercise enough, when make it a point to be physically active atleast three times a week, could reduce their risk of being affected by depression by around 16 percent.
Depression is one of the most common forms of mental illnesses, and is linked to several other health issues as well. The World Health Organisation has listed down depression as the leading cause of disability, and it is thought to affect more than 350 million people around the globe.
“If everyone was physically active at least three times a week we would expect to see a drop in depression risk, not to mention the benefits for physical health, as pointed out by other research, including reduced obesity, heart disease and diabetes risk,” Chris Power, a UCL professor of epidemiology and public health who also worked on the study, explained.
The researchers followed 11,135 individuals upto the age of 50 years, and checked their depressive symptoms and levels of physical activity. They also put forth a questionnaire to check their psychological distress at the age of 23, 33, 42 and 50 years. They also checked how often these individuals exercised.
The results from the study revealed that individuals who increased their physical activity reported fewer symptoms of depression, and those with more depression symptoms were less active than others. Infact, each additional session of physical activity reduced the risk of depression by 6 percent.
So the next time you feel blue and want to get into bed with a tub of ice-cream and watch a movie, just pull up your jogging pants and get out!