In the findings of a genetic study of more than a quarter-million people, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital has determined that there is a casual correlation between physical activity and depression.
A current article on the Cosmos website tells of how this study was done on an international level, and how participants measured and reported their own physical activity. The participants in the study wore special sensors known as accelerometers, which keep track of activity by sensors that detect motion.
Through the years, other studies have discovered that depression and little or no exercise may be connected, but this new study confirms that depression can be kept away by exercising. At the same time, this study also discovered that people who do not exercise are more likely to develop depression.
It is estimated that in excess of 300 million people worldwide are afflicted with some form of depression.
This research team discovered that by running for 15 minutes, or walking briskly for one hour, a person’s risk of developing depression can be cut by roughly 25 percent.
Karmel Choi, from Massachusetts General Hospital, says that advances in large genetic studies were utilized to validate the benefits of exercise. Explaining it in simpler terms, Ms. Choi says that the “pleasure” hormones in peoples’ brains that make them feel good have now been found to be connected to exercising.
Another strategy for avoiding depression, says Karmel Choi, is what she calls “behavioral activation.” This method basically entails being active and engaging in activities that are positive and/or meaningful. By doing so, a person can avoid isolation and improve their state of mind.
As the lead author in the genetic study, Karmel Choi says that their team views the study as part of a larger overall connection between mental health and physical activity.