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A meta-analysis of 15 studies about depression indicates that there are substantial mental health benefits of physical activity

Are exercises really so important to the mental health of an individual? A study that was published in JAMA Psychiatry indicates that exercise can lead to lower levels of depression even for people performing less exercise than is suggested by health professionals.

Depression is a widespread and debilitating mental illness that can cause numerous negative consequences such as isolation, and suicide. There is a myriad of elements that contribute to the development of depression in a person. There are also various interventions that have proven successful in preventing or treating depression. There are studies that suggest that physical exercise can be a prevention measure for depression symptoms.

Matthew Pearce and colleagues conducted an analysis of meta-analyses to examine the connection between physical exercise and depression. The participants were adults who had a connection between physical activity as well as risk causes for depression. The studies were sourced from multiple online sources. Data were retrieved from studies, such as the volume in physical exercise depression-related cases participants’ numbers, as well as following-up.

The study used 348 full-text papers and their information. Countries covered include the United States, Australia, Japan, India, Ghana, Mexico, and Russia. The results showed that the greatest advantages for participants with depression occurred in those who went from no exercise to some and not from minimal activity to high amounts of physical activity. A mere 2.5 hours per week of vigorous walking led to a 25% lower risk for depression.

The relationship may be due to various mechanisms, such as the inflammatory response to activity as well as permanent changes to the brain. In addition, it has been suggested that it could be connected to self-esteem as well as body image, which could aid in to improve social interaction and coping abilities.

Although there are some advantages to the study’s findings, it has its own drawbacks. While meta-analysis can be a wonderful method to collect a vast quantity of information from a variety of sources, the metrics varied for a variety different studies such as the type of exercise or activity , as well as the duration of follow-up. The study is therefore lacking any coherence. Furthermore, the research may not exclude any possibility of depression can affect physical activity, and the reverse.

Yet, the results suggest that there is a significant connection between physical exercise and decreased depression.

“This meta-analysis found an association between physical activity and incident depression,” the authors concluded. “This indicates that significant mental health benefits could be obtained at levels of physical activity which are lower than the general health guidelines. There is also benefits for achieving the minimum target, but with a limited benefits over this. If causality is assumed, 1 out of 9 cases of depression could be prevented if everyone of the population were active to the extent of the current recommendations for health.”

This study ” Association between Physical Activity and Risk of Depression” was written by Matthew Pearce, Leandro Garcia, Ali Abbas, Tessa Strain, Felipe Barreto Schuch, Rajna Golubic, Paul Kelly, Saad Khan, Mrudula Utukuri, Yvonne Laird Alexander Mok, Andrea Smith, Marko Tainio, Soren Brage along with James Woodcock.

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