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Exercise Behavior Brain and Mental Performance Depression

Low-Intensity Exercise Linked To Reduced Depression

1 month, 3 weeks ago

2057  0
Posted on Apr 30, 2024, 7 p.m.

According to a study published in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews by researchers at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) who conducted a global umbrella review of studies examining the potential effects of physical activity on mental health, low to moderate intensity exercise significantly helps to reduce the rates of depression.

The researchers found that physical activity reduced the risk of depression by 23% and anxiety by 26%. Physical activity was also significantly associated with a reduced risk of severe mental health conditions, including a reduction in the risk of schizophrenia/psychosis by 27%. Additionally, a particularly strong association was found between low to moderate physical activities which include gardening, walking, and golfing, and a reduced risk of depression, but this was not strongly observed for high-intensity exercise. These results were consistent in both men and women as well as across different age groups and around the world. 

"Preventing mental health complications effectively has emerged as a major challenge, and an area of paramount importance in the realm of public health. These conditions can be complex and necessitate a multi-pronged approach to treatment, which may encompass pharmacological interventions, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes,” said lead author Lee Smith, Professor of Public Health at ARU.  "These effects of physical activity intensity on depression highlight the need for precise exercise guidelines. Moderate exercise can improve mental health through biochemical reactions, whereas high-intensity exercise may worsen stress-related responses in some individuals.”

"Acknowledging differences in people's response to exercise is vital for effective mental health strategies, suggesting any activity recommendations should be tailored for the individual,” continues Smith. "The fact that even low to moderate levels of physical activity can be beneficial for mental health is particularly important, given that these levels of activity may be more achievable for people who can make smaller lifestyle changes without feeling they need to commit to a high-intensity exercise programme."

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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