A study found that people who didn’t exercise were 44% more likely to suffer from depression than those who did an hour or two a week. This new research suggests that a little exercise weekly could reduce the risk of depression.
Depression is a very common disorder, affecting about 6.7 percent of adults in the United States each year. The economic burden was estimated at $ 210.5 billion in 2010 alone. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 300 million people live with the disorder. In Spain it affects 5% of the population, it is usually accompanied by symptoms of anxiety.
Treatment for depression
Treatments for depression generally include medications, psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, or a combination of these approaches.
Recently, the Australian nonprofit group called Black Dog Institute, which supports people with mood disorders, launched a month-long campaign encouraging people to exercise.
This is supported by research by scientists at the Black Dog Institute in collaboration with colleagues from other institutions around the world, including universities and health institutes in the UK, Australia and Norway.
The study, led by Professor Samuel Harvey of the Black Dog Institute, analyzed data collected from 33,908 Norwegian adults who were followed up over an 11-year period.
As Prof. Harvey explains: “We have known for some time that exercise has a role to play in treating symptoms of depression, but this is the first time that we have been able to quantify the preventive potential of physical activity in terms of reducing future levels of depression”.
These findings, he adds, “are exciting because they show that even relatively small amounts of exercise – one hour per week – can offer significant protection against depression.”
“If we can find ways to increase the population’s level of physical activity, even by a small amount, this is likely to bring substantial benefits to physical and mental health.”