Regular exercise may help lower your risk of depression

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It’s long been understood that exercise is extremely beneficial for both physical and mental health.

A recent study on more than 266,000 people of all ages and from a variety of different regions has indicated that exercising and keeping active can decrease the risk of depression.

Participants were asked to say how much exercise they had done in recent days or weeks. They were then followed up for an average of 7.4 years to see if they developed depression or depressive symptoms. The results showed that those who were most active were 17% less likely to get depression than those who did the least amount of physical exercise.

The researchers said: “Our results indicate that higher levels of physical activity offer a protective effect on future development of depression for people of all ages (youths, working-age adults, elderly persons) and this finding is robust across geographical regions around the world.”

However, the question of how a person’s mental state is affected when they give up exercise altogether is a topic that is often overlooked and yet to be adequately explored.

Although taken from a relatively small sample of participants, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Adelaide shows that ceasing all forms of vigorous physical activity can cause an individual to develop depressive symptoms. They found that for some, the impact of stopping exercise could have an almost immediate effect.

Pamela Mahaka, Occupational Therapist at specialist mental health service provider Camino Healthcare said: “When our Service Users are able to take part in regular activities and exercise, the benefits it can bring both physically and mentally are clear to see. It can give individuals a purpose and something to look forward too.

“The team here work with each Service User to develop a tailored activities plan, completely individual to that person as well as organising group activities both in the Unit and out in the community so that support networks can be developed and maintained.”

At Camino Healthcare, we provide 24-hour care and support in our award winning mental health units based in the West Midlands. The service is for both men and women (18 – 65) with severe and enduring mental illness, mild learning disabilities as well as patients with forensic histories.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits that exercise could have click the link below.

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