Here’s a look at why.
The exact mechanisms at work are not yet known, and there are research studies looking into this phenomenon currently.
Some of the research findings so far:
Running for just 15 minutes daily, or walking for at least an hour, is associated with a reduced risk of major depression, according to a study published online January 23 by JAMA Psychiatry. If you’re unsure of where to start or how to ramp up your exercise regimen, our Ottawa sports medicine specialists, physiotherapists, and chiropractors, are available with answers and advice.
"We saw a 26% decrease in odds for becoming depressed for each major increase in objectively measured physical activity," says study author Karmel Choi, a clinical and research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/more-evidence-that-exercise-can-boost-mood "This increase in physical activity is what you might see on your activity tracker if you replaced 15 minutes of sitting with 15 minutes of running, or one hour of sitting with one hour of moderate activity like brisk walking."
But, is exercise the catalyst – or is is that, when we feel better, we exercise more?
"We wanted to see if there might be a causal connection, in either direction, between physical activity and depression," says Choi. "Does physical activity protect against depression? Or does depression simply reduce physical activity? Our study allowed us to untangle those questions in a powerful new way using genetic data."
The study noted that the type of movement didn’t actually matter.
"What our study would say is that any kind of movement can add up to keep depression at bay. I think that's why our study findings were especially appealing. It didn't say you have to run a marathon, do hours of aerobics, or be a CrossFit master just to see benefits on depression," says Choi.
Regular exercise is the key to a healthy lifestyle at any age, and whether you are a professional athlete or retiree, it has benefits beyond just the physical aspects. If you have any questions about exercise, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Ottawa physiotherapy and sports medicine clinics today for a consultation.