Can Exercise Prevent Depression?

exercise depression

Can Exercise Prevent Depression?

The answer is YES!

Generally, the more a person exercises, the less likely they are to have depression.

Indeed exercise reduces the chances of depression by between 17-41% (consistent across different countries, ages and sexes). That’s a huge difference.

How Does Exercise Both Prevent and Treat Depression?

  1. Depression is associated with inflammation.
    Regular exercise reduces inflammation.
  2. Depression is also associated with lower levels of BDNF (helps the brain grow and remodel). Regular exercise increases BDNF.
  3. Exercise is also associated with positive psychological changes.
    It increases confidence, self-determination and often is social (all helpful for depression).

Consequently, the benefits of exercise are probably a combination of all three pathways.

As well as other areas we aren’t fully aware of … as yet!

Can Exercise Treat Existing Depression?

Yes Exercise can also improve depressive symptoms in people already with mild depression.

However (similar to other treatments), exercise is not a panacea and may not work equally for all, all of the time. But a valid option nonetheless.

Source: Exercise as a Treatment for Depression: A meta-analysis adjusting for publication bias – Schuch et al 2016

In Category: Exercise

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WellCoach Noel Lyons holds a Masters degree in Exercise + Health Science. Mixing 30 years experience with Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Sports Science and Best Practice, Noel coaches high performers worldwide to thrive (both personally & professionally) by maximising their Wellbeing levels.