Due to the many challenges of everyday life, we all have occasional mood swings and periods of feeling down. However, a surprising number of people – close to 350 million worldwide, according to the latest research – are dealing with these symptoms on a consistent basis. This mood disorder is most commonly known as depression, and on average, it lasts for 6 to 8 months.

The causes of depression are complex and numerous, including genetics, environmental factors, changes in neurotransmitter levels and psychosocial issues. Some people are also more prone to depression than others, mostly due to risk factors such as childhood trauma and genetic factors. The good news is that depression is a treatable illness, and can be managed by using psychotherapy and drug treatments such as antidepressants.

Study shows exercise fights depression
Thanks to a recent study conducted by the Australian-based Black Dog Institute, we now have definitive proof that exercise is a natural treatment for depression. In one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, Black Dog Institute collaborated with many other universities and health institutions worldwide. Together, the researchers analyzed the data collected during the Nord-Trondelag Health Study (otherwise known as HUNT), which followed 33,908 Norwegian adults over the course of 11 years.

Though the study itself was long and thorough, the findings are perfectly clear: even a single hour of weekly exercise can provide enough protection against depression. Interestingly enough, the intensity of exercise doesn't seem to have an effect on the benefits. Prof. Samuel Harvey, the study's lead author, says that we're finally able to quantify the potential of physical activity when it comes to dealing with depression.

At the beginning of the HUNT study, all participants were required to report their physical activity status and their frequency of weekly exercise. They were asked to choose between three levels of aerobic intensity: mild exercises not followed by breathlessness, moderate exercises followed by breathlessness, and intense exercises followed by physical exhaustion. For the follow-up stage of the study, the participants filled out a self-report questionnaire designed to detect symptoms of emerging anxiety and depression.

Physical inactivity increases the prospect of depression

The big issue with depression is that a lot of people do not know anything about it and therefore do not know how to fight it. According to the study's findings, the participants who didn't engage in any physical activity were 44% more likely to develop depression in comparison to their equals who worked out for 1 to 2 hours per week.  

To ensure that the results were consistent, the researchers adjusted for many confounding variables such as the participants' body mass index, socioeconomic status, demographics and alcohol use. As Prof. Harvey explains, these results are particularly promising because they indicate that small lifestyle changes make can lead to massive mental, physical and psychological health benefits.

The study concludes that approximately 12% of participants could have prevented future depression by exercising for at least an hour each week. However, the exact connection between exercise and the protective effect it provides against depression is not yet clear. Prof. Harvey believes that this effect is the result of the many social benefits commonly associated with exercising. 

He hopes that the study can light the way for improved health policy implementation in the future; according to him, a small increase of physical activity levels is likely to result in substantial health benefits for the population as a whole. In www.LifetoLiveit.com, you can go through a variety of physical activities that instantly lift your mood and relieve your anxiety.

Exercise improves your mental and psychological well-being 

Exercising causes the body to release the feel-good hormones from the endorphins that when combined with the brain natural hormone chemical makes you happy. Happy mood is the natural treatment of the sad mood that depression presents. During the exercise session, one gets a chance for social interaction with friends and other people in the neighborhood thus eliminating the frown face which signifies depression.

It isn’t the first time researchers are figuring it out that exercise, whether this is aerobics like swimming, walking, jogging, bicycling, exercising on a fat rower or training with weights, it can aid in getting rid of depression; the problem has always been on how to quantify the amount of time that is needed for such exercise. Fortunately, a study that professor/author Samuel Harvey of Black Dog Institute and UNSW conducted found out that a culture of observing an hour of exercising once a week can reduce the future occurrences of depression to any individual.