Millions of people around the world are dealing with depression on a daily basis. This mental health issue can have an impact on the body both physically and mentally. A new study claims physical activity can help reduce the risk of depression.
“Depression is a major public health problem and a major source of suffering for people, and the study found that it’s a fact that something like physical activity may have protective effects,” study senior author Dr Jordan Smoller, an associate chief for research at MGH’s Department of Psychiatry and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, told a news portal.
Researchers suggest physical activity can help reduce episodes of depression even in patients with a genetic predisposition to the health issue. “You don’t have to be jogging every day for two hours to get the benefit,” Smoller told a news portal. Adding “Even if you go out for a walk for a half hour a day, you could see some benefits. It can be demoralizing to set a goal and make people feel like they need to be doing something and they aren’t measuring up. That’s not really the goal here.”
The new study conducted by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital found exercising for four hours every week can help reduce depressive episodes by almost 17 per cent. You can try exercises that are high-intensity or low-intensity.
While working out more can help, it can be hard to incorporate more physical activity. Experts recommend trying hobbies that will be more enjoyable. “Join a dance club or simply register with your local walking group,” Dr Sarmila Sinha, MBBS, MRCPsych, MSc, FCMA and author of 'An Expert Guide to Stress Management', told a news portal. Adding “These group activities also help improve social interactions. Social isolation makes depression worse.”
Remember, it is all about taking small steps, which can help yield big results. “Exercise stimulates the brain to release neurochemicals like endorphins, also dubbed as the ‘happy hormone,’ or the body’s natural painkiller and helps with stress relief and pain,” Dr Sinha told a news portal. Adding,“Exercise has other health benefits, such as weight reduction, regulating blood sugar, and it reduces the risk of heart disease."
The study's findings were originally published in Depression and Anxiety.
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