Moderate exercise can not only treat, but prevent depression

Physical activity has long been known to help treat depression, but now a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that moderate exercise can actually prevent episodes of depression.

The study was the first longitudinal review that focused exclusively on how exercise relates to good mental health, as well as how it can help prevent the condition from manifesting later in life.

It doesn't take much

George Mammen, PhD candidate and author of the study, analyzed over 26 years of research for the review. When it comes to exercise, he found that even 20-30 minutes of daily activity, like walking or gardening, can help prevent depression in people of all ages.

The findings are significant in that they support emerging trends toward a more holistic-based approach to treating mental health conditions without the use of medication, a press release on the study stated.

"We need a prevention strategy now more than ever," Mammen said. "Our health system is taxed. We need to shift focus and look for ways to fend off depression from the start."

And while other factors might influence the onset or severity of depression, Mammen said that the scope of research supporting the exercise-mental health link provides a clear takeaway for everyone.

"It's definitely worth taking note that if you're currently active, you should sustain it," he concluded. "If you're not physically active, you should initiate the habit. This review shows promising evidence that the impact of being active goes far beyond the physical."

Source: Science Daily

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