The scientists in the United Kingdom have conducted a study as a module of a consortium of research on public health. They say that the relationship that they discovered between depression-risk and exercise indicates to the ways through which both physical and mental health can be improved simultaneously.
Physical activities performed during leisure time have a protective impact against depression and anxiety, according to Snehal Pareira of Institute of Child Health in University College London. The study was led by him. If adults, who are aged between 20 and 40 years and are not physically active, started to working-out thrice a week, the risk of depression-development can get reduced by 16% in approximation.
Depression is considered among the most common mental illness in human beings. The number of people affected by it exceeds 15 million people throughout the world. WHO has ranked it as a leading cause of disorder globally.
Psychotherapy or medication or both are usually adopted as the method of treatment of depression and anxiety patients. Yet, the condition of many sufferers does not improve and they continue to experience recurring spells of illness.
The research-team that was led by Pareira observed 11,135 people, who were born in 1958. They were observed until they completed 50 years of age. Their physical activity-levels and the depressive symptoms in them as adults were recorded at regular interim.
When the subjects were of age 23 years, 33 years, 42 years and 50 years, their responses to the questionnaire that has been designed for the measurement of psychological distress – Malaise Inventory, were captured for observation. The participants were asked about the frequency of exercise too.
The results inferred after the study revealed that those who increasingly engaged in weekly physical activities reported fewer symptoms of depression. Similarly, those who experienced depressive symptoms more than the other research-subjects were physically active too, especially at their younger ages. Moreover, each additional session of physical workout per week resulted in 6% reduction in symptoms of depression.
The researchers pointed out that the connection between symptoms of depression and workout was alike throughout the population rather than being in only those who were are at higher risk of developing clinical depression.
The report also revealed that subjects who reported depressive symptoms more than others did at 23 years of age tended to engage in less physical activity. However, this link diminished with growing age.
The findings are important towards designing policies for making people more physically active, since it indicates that symptoms of depression become a barrier towards physical activities during young adulthood-phase. Besides, it reinforced the current evidence regarding the benefits of exercise towards improvement of physical health and treatment of depression and anxiety.
If all patients of depression and anxiety engage in physical activity three times a week at the least, the chances of depression-development can be expected to reduce almost certainly.
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