Exercise linked to better mental health for the long-term


Physical activity and exercise is increasingly recognized as an effective tool to pre-emptively treat depression. George Mammen, PhD candidate, has taken the connection one step further and found that moderate exercise can prevent episodes of depression in the long term.

Even 20 minutes a day helps

His longitudinal study, the first of its kind, focuses exclusively on the role that exercise plays in maintaining good mental health and preventing the onset of depression later in life. Mammen analyzed over 26 years’ worth of research findings to discover that even low amounts of physical activity, simply gardening or walking for 20 to 30 minutes a day can prevent depression in people of all age groups.

Prevention is better than treatment

“We need a prevention strategy now more than ever,” said Mammen. “Our health system is taxed. We need to shift focus and look for ways to fend off depression from the start.” More and more doctors are looking for ways to expand their approach beyond treating depression with costly prescription medications with a marginal chance of working. It is better to prevent the disease in the first place, than wait for it to happen and treat the symptoms later.

Activity helps everyone at every age

There is acknowledgment from Mammen that for some people, there is a genetic component to depression and this will influence a person’s likelihood of experiencing mental health challenges. Never the less, the scope of the research he studied shows that regardless of individual predispositions, exercise can help. “It’s definitely worth taking note that if you’re currently active, you should sustain it. If you’re not physically active, you should initiate the habit. This review shows promising evidence that the impact of being active goes far beyond the physical,” Mammen concluded.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, American Journal of Preventive Medicine


The information provided on the PsyWeb.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of PsyWeb.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

PsyWeb Poll

Are you currently taking or have you ever been prescribed anti-depressants?
Total votes: 3979