A new study has sought to determine what levels and intensity of exercise / physical activity are associated with lower levels of depression in (Australian) men.
13,884 participants from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Male Health were compared for current depression from those who completed 150 min of physical activity in the past week with men who did not.
Men who completed at least 150 min/week of activity had lower odds of depression symptoms.
Further, the duration of activity was inversely associated with depression symptoms.
In addition, each additional hour of moderate activity replaced with vigorous activity was associated with lower odds of depression.
This would suggest promoting higher levels physical activity are a viable option in improving men’s mental wellbeing.
Men completing 150 min per week of moderate-to-vigorous activity had lower depression.
Increased moderate-to-vigorous physical activity above 150 min per week further reduces depression prevalence.
Substituting one hour of vigorous for moderate activity reduced the odds of depression symptoms by 32%.
However, recommending men undertake longer and/or more intense physical activity must be balanced against the acceptability and feasibility of such a recommendation. It potentially could dissuade some men from physical activity altogether. Instead, maintaining an achievable lower minimum level may be a more pragmatic approach at a population level.