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Study: People Who Exercise Less Have Higher Risk of Depression

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RR LESS EXERCISE DEPRESSION 2016

There is a reciprocal relationship between exercise and mood

When you are in a good mood  you will think about working out and when you are working out you will probably be in a good mood. This is not unusual since many people go for exercise when they feel they are not OK.

Interestingly, researchers have published a systematic review in the Preventive Medicine Journal for more than 1 million people who have been studied in prospective cohorts to find out that higher risk, about 75 percent of depression, anxiety and mental illness is linked more to low exercise compared to 23 percent in people with moderate exercise.

More interesting is that exercise can be one of the options in management of depressed patients or people with psychological problems.

The reason behind that is the natural opioids secreted in the brain during exercise; endorphins, dynorphins and enkephalins which are known for their analgesic and mood stabilizing effects. Serotonin and norepinephrine also play a role during exercise. They are chemical substances in the brain responsible for transmission of neuronal actions.

In fact, the safest and first line therapy for treating depression is serotonin modulating drugs in the brain, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors which work to increase its level in the brain.

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Another study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine Journal was conducted on more than 150 patients with clinical diagnosis of depression. The patients were dependent on antidepressant medication. The study concluded that no difference in outcome between study groups who used medications and those who had regular exercise or both. Following up the same patients after 6 months, researchers found that exercise effect can last longer than medications since patients had less liability to relapse into depression again. This is amazing how exercise can benefit you in many ways; physical fitness, lower heart disease risk, self-confidence and good mood.    

So what can you do? You can walk, run or lift weights to maintain physical fitness and mental health. The important thing is to keep a regular and adequate exercise program that fits your needs. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, researchers postulate that moderate exercise brings more joy than severe exercise. For a 150-pound person, 35 minutes / day for five days a week fast walking is enough. Another schedule is 60 minutes/day for three days a week. You need to consult your psychiatrist or primary care physician before thinking about these programs as an alternative to therapy.

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