A third of people at risk of mental health problems could avoid it with regular exercise, a study shows

A third of people at risk of mental health problems could avoid it with regular exercise, a study shows

A third of people at risk of mental health problems could avoid it with regular exercise, a study shows

Can exercise stop one in three cases of depression? A third of people at risk of mental health problems could avoid it with regular exercise, a study shows

  • Research shows that exercise can reduce the risk of depression and anxiety
  • 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise could reduce the risk by almost 19 percent
  • Figures show that one in five UK adults suffer from depression or anxiety

A third of people are at risk of depression and anxiety could be prevented with enough exercise, study shows.

Exercise is a well-known treatment for those with depression, and doctors even prescribe it.

But getting more exercise could prevent people from becoming depressed and anxious, according to a study of more than 37,000 people.

If everyone managed 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise — which makes breathing difficult and includes running and swimming — it could prevent nearly 19 percent of cases of depression and anxiety, the researchers concluded.

A third of people at risk of mental health problems could avoid it with regular exercise, a study shows

Research shows that regular exercise can reduce diagnoses of depression and anxiety

And if we all got between two-and-a-half hours and five hours a week of moderate activity—which gets you breathing faster and includes brisk walking, cycling, and dancing—maybe another 13 percent of depression and anxiety diagnoses would never happen.

These findings suggest that almost a third of cases of depression and anxiety, which affect one in five UK adults, could be prevented through exercise.

dr. Carlos Celis-Morales, senior author of the study from the University of Glasgow, said: ‘This is a very strong public health message because exercise is free and anyone can increase the amount of exercise they do per week.’

The study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, looked at people aged 37 to 73 who did not have anxiety. They were given fitness trackers to monitor physical activity.

When they were followed, for an average of almost seven years, about 3 percent developed depression or anxiety.

Based on the results, the researchers calculated that people who were sedentary and switched to 75 to 150 minutes a week of vigorous activity would be 29 percent less likely to develop depression or anxiety.

Moderate physical activity of 150 to 300 minutes per week would reduce the risk of anxiety or depression by 47 percent.

More research is needed because the study authors do not yet understand whether exercise itself plays a crucial role.

Although physical activity floods the brain with reward chemicals, the benefits may be more about exercising with other people and the boost we get from socializing.

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