Is There a Link Between Exercise and Depression?

Healthy Living


A new study confirms that being fit may be the ultimate anti-depressant

Being healthy is about physical, mental and spiritual health. The good news? Often when we do something to build health in one of these areas, our health in other areas will improve as well.

A recent study published by JAMA Psychiatry backs this up finding, and says that one of the most effective and least expensive ways to fight depression is by being fit. The study followed 18,000 people for nearly 40 years. It found that those with higher fitness levels had a 16% lower risk of depression later in life. Higher fitness levels were determined by both frequency and duration of exercise.

While any activity can help decrease depression, the below activities have been highlighted to be especially helpful:

  1. Running: Running improves moods by causing changes in serotonin and norepinephrine levels both during and after the run.
  2. Hiking in the woods: Being around trees, especially decaying ones, encourages us to slow down. Decaying trees emit chemicals that help slow down the process of their decay.
  3. Yoga: With its deep focus on breathing, yoga helps calm the mind and combat anxiety.
  4. Dancing: In addition to burning calories, dancing is often a form of self-expression, strengthening the connection between the mind and body.
  5. Tai Chi: Utilizing great mental concentration, balance, muscle relaxation and relaxed breathing Tai Chi helps regulate mood.

So what’s the best workout for  you? Oftentimes, it’s the one you enjoy the most, because you’ll be most consistent. Whether you prefer partner workouts, group sports or training individually, listen to your body and your mind.