Physical Activity May Help Reduce New Episodes of Depression
Research has found that physical activity may help ease depression by releasing feel-good endorphins. A new study has found that 35 minutes of physical activity per day may help reduce the risk of a new episode of depression by up to 17%.
Researchers from Harvard University used data from the Partners Healthcare Biobank that included approximately 8,000 participants. Participants filled out a survey at the time of enrollment, including information about physical activity. They were followed for two years, and all diagnoses related to depression were recorded. The researchers also calculated genetic risk scores to determine each participants’ inherited risk for depression.
Participants who were more physically active at baseline were less likely to have a new episode of depression. This held true even for participants with the highest inherited risk for depression. Both high-intensity and low-intensity physical activities were associated with a decreased risk of new episodes of depression. For every four hours of physical activity per week, the chances of a new episode of depression decreased by 17%.
The study was published online ahead of print on November 5, 2019 in the journal Depression & Anxiety.