Want to Lower Your Risk of Depression? Stay Fit!

Do you need a new, evidence-based source of motivation to get in shape or stay fit? If so, a recently published seven-year study of over 150,000 people reports that individuals with higher aerobic and muscular fitness levels are significantly less likely to experience depressionand anxiety. These findings (Kandola et al., 2020) were published on Nov. 11 in the journal BMC Medicine.

Lead author Aaron Kandola of UCL’s Division of Psychiatry and colleagues found that people with low levels of cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness were almost twice as likely to experience depression than study participants with higher aerobic/muscular fitness. Low levels of fitness also predicted a significantly greater chance of generalized anxiety disorderKarmel Choi of Harvard Medical School, whose previous research (Choi et al., 2019) found that physical activity keeps depression at bay, is a co-author of this study.

This prospective cohort study involved 152,978 participants age 40 to 69 who were part of the more extensive UK Biobank Study, consisting of 500,000 people from England, Scotland, and Wales recruited between April 2007 to December 2010 to participate in nationwide longitudinal research.

Excerpted from Psychology Today

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