We’re well schooled in the benefits of exercise, and know that moving our bodies can have a positive effect on our mind as well as our muscles.
But now science has confirmed what we have always suspected: that there is a veritable link between exercise and depression.
Researchers have discovered that exercise not only helps to alleviate the symptoms of depression, but can also guard against developing the condition in the first place.
This effect is so strong that those who don’t exercise are at a whopping 75% higher risk of developing depression than those who exercise regularly.
The study, conducted by eight global public-health researchers, analysed the data of 1,140,000 women and men to see if there was a link between exercise and depression.
The researchers pooled this data from previous studies in which people’e aerobic fitness was analysed alongside their mental health, with a follow-up time of at least a year.
After analysing the data, the researchers concluded that there was indeed a solid link between physical fitness and depression.
They divided the million-plus participants into three groups depending on their fitness, and found that those in the lowest fitness group were 75% more likely to develop depression than those in the high fitness group. Those in the medium fitness group were 25% more likely to develop the disease.
Concluding the study, published in the Preventive Medicine journal last month, the researchers wrote, “these findings further support the rationale for interventions specifically targeting fitness, in order to reduce the significant burden associated with depression.”