Research has found that physical activity reduces the risk of depression by up to 25 per cent.
Depression is fairly common among Australia’s senior population. In fact, around 10–15 per cent of older people deal with depression and approximately 10 per cent experience symptoms of anxiety. About 35 per cent of people living in residential aged-care facilities also suffer from depressive illnesses.
Depression and anxiety affect around three million Australians every year. A recent study has found that symptoms of depression can be prevented or reduced by getting out and about and engaging in some form of physical activity.
The study, by JAMA Psychiatry, showed that people who engage in physical activity three times a week can reduce their risk of depression by 19 per cent. Researchers analysed 11,135 people born in 1958 and followed their progress until the age of 50. When the participants were aged 23, 33, 42 and 50, they reported the amount of physical activity which they engaged in and answered questions which assessed their levels of psychological distress.
Dr Snehal Pinto Pereira of the University of London College (UCL) along with her team found that the more physical activity the participants engaged in per week, the lower their level of depression. Further activity, beyond three times each week, reduced the risk of depression by a further six per cent.
“If everyone was physically active at least three times a week we would expect to see a drop in depression risk, not to mention the benefits for physical health, as pointed out by other research, including reduced obesity, heart disease and diabetes risk,” commented senior study author, Professor Christine Power.
Researchers say that the results of the study emphasise the fact that physical activity is important in preventing and easing the symptoms of depression. They also noted that although physical activity may reduce the risk of depression, those who experience depressive symptoms may find it hard to engage in physical activity.
So, while it may often feel counter-intuitive, get up, get active, and chase those blues away.
For more information about this study, visit MedicalNewsToday.com.
For information about depression, visit BeyondBlue.org.au
To read more about the study by JAMA Psychiatry, visit JamaNetwork.com.
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