Evidence on the Value of Exercise

Several studies have finally confirmed the value of exercise to help ward off depression. More than a million men and women have been involved in studies and when computed, the research strongly suggests that regular exercise alters our bodies and brains in ways that make us resistant to despair. The “why” it works has long been questioned on how physical activity affects mental health, but due to the many studies examining the value of exercise in relationship to depression, results are now significant. The pooled results persuasively showed that exercise, especially if it is moderately strenuous, such as brisk walking or jogging, has a “large and significant effect” against depression. People’s mental health tended to demonstrably improve if they were physically active. This conclusion was reached with the help of blood samples from people with major depression. Samples were analyzed both before and after exercise and showed that exercise significantly reduced various markers of inflammation and increased levels of a number of different hormones and other biochemicals that are thought to contribute to brain health. A total of 25 studies were collectively collaborated involving participants who did and did not exercise as well as including those of various levels of depression. An analysis was published in June, 2016, in the Journal of Psychiatric Research in which each study included a control group of ‘no exercise’ but with methodological sophistication. An additional study was published in October, 2016 in Preventive Medicine that focused on whether exercise could help prevent someone from developing depression. Primary authors on all reviews were Felipe Barreto Schuch, exercise scientist at the Centro Universitário La Salle in Canoas, Brazil, and Brendon Stubbs, professor at King’s College in London. To determine the ideal amounts and types of exercise that might help both to prevent and treat depression, Dr. Schuch said that many more experiments are still needed. The main message of his and his colleagues’ reviews “is that people need to be active to improve their mental health.” http://mobile.nytimes.com