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Research: One hour of exercise a week prevents depression


The positive effects of exercise on depression

Physical activity can prevent depression from developing. For the first time, it was possible to demonstrate in a large study that the positive effects of sporting activities for the prevention of depression can be determined - regardless of age and origin. You don't even have to become a sports fanatic. Exercising for an hour a week already reduces the risk of depression.

The international study team was made up of researchers from Brazil, Belgium, Australia, the USA, the United Kingdom and Sweden. Data from 49 individual cohort studies were evaluated. All studies looked at whether physical activity leads to a reduced risk of developing depression in people without previous mental illnesses. In total, the data from over 250,000 people were analyzed. The results were recently published in the specialist journal "The American Journal of Psychiatry".

The effect is independent of age and origin

The analysis of the data showed that participants with little exercise had a higher risk of depression than participants with higher physical activity. In addition, the research team was able to demonstrate that this protective effect occurs to the same extent in adolescents, adults and the elderly. The origin of the respondents also had no influence on the protective function. The subjects came from Europe, North America and Oceania.

Compared to other studies

In a recent study by the Black Dog Institute in Australia and the University of New South Wales in Sydney, scientists were able to prove that 12 percent of all depression could be prevented by just one hour of exercise a week. With the “Exercise Your Mood” campaign, the institute is now motivating Australians to do more for their mental health through physical exercise.

The clear results should be included in guidelines

"The most important thing now is to ensure that these overwhelming results lead to appropriate guidelines," explains the co-author of the study, Dr. Simon Rosenbaum in a press release on the study results. The expert said the results could improve facilities that support people with impending depression. There you should motivate people to participate in programs to increase physical activity.

Protect the population from depression with sport

"It is the first worldwide meta-analysis to demonstrate that sheer physical activity is conducive to protecting the entire population from depression," reports the lead author of the study, Dr. Felipe Barreto Chess from the Universidad La Salle from Brazil. Analyzes of over a quarter of a million people have shown very clearly that people who maintain an active lifestyle are less likely to develop depression, adds co-author Dr. Brendon Stubbs added.

The protective function is also independent of other trucks

In addition, the study showed that a high level of physical activity leads to a protective function against depression, irrespective of other factors such as smoking, obesity and general physical health.

Higher priority for physical activity

"In addition to the multitude of other advantages that physical activity brings, our findings can lead to repositioning physical activity over the course of life on the priority list," says Stubbs.

More exercise at school, at work and in leisure time

"The convincing evidence that we were able to present here provides the key arguments for getting people to do more at school, at work and in their free time," sums up Dr. Joseph Firth of Western Sydney University. Further studies are already planned to determine the minimum level of physical activity and the effect of the different types of physical activity. This should permanently reduce the risk of suffering from depression, according to the expert. (vb)

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