• Thursday, December 01, 2022

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A third of people at risk of depression and anxiety can prevent it – Here’s how

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

Depression and anxiety affect one in five adults in the UK. Doctors often prescribe exercise as a treatment for those suffering from depression. Now, a study has suggested that a third of people at risk of mental health issues can avoid it with regular exercise.

A study involving more than 37,000 people states, that being active can prevent people from becoming depressed and anxious.

Researchers have concluded that if everyone manages 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise it could prevent almost 19% of cases of depression and anxiety, the Daily Mail informs.

However, the exercise should make you breathe hard. Some of the vigorous exercises include running and swimming.

Experts also inform that if people did moderate exercise between 2.5 hours and 5 hours a week, another 13% of depression and anxiety cases could be prevented.

The moderate activities should however make you breathe faster. Some examples of moderate activity include cycling, brisk walking, and dancing.

Senior author of the study from the University of Glasgow, Dr Carlos Celis-Morales is reported to have said, ‘This is a very strong public health message, as exercise is free, and everyone can increase how much they do in a week.’

The study which is published in the journal BMC Medicine, reportedly studied people aged 37 to 73 with no anxiety. These people were given fitness trackers to monitor their physical activity and were studied for almost seven years on average.

Researchers discovered that among these people around 3% had developed depression or anxiety.

The results showed that those who were sedentary and who included 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity a week in their schedules were 29% less likely to develop anxiety or depression.

Furthermore, researchers also found that 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity a week could reduce the risk of developing anxiety or depression by 47%.

However, since the study authors do not yet understand if it is just the physical activity itself that is making the difference, they are of the opinion that more research is needed.

Also, though physical activities and exercise are known to flood the brain with reward chemicals that activate happiness, experts believe it is quite possible that the benefits may be because of exercising with other people and the boost one gets from socializing or mingling with others.

According to the NHS, adults aged 19 to 64 should try to be active daily and should do the following to stay healthy:

Weekly, at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, including cycling or brisk walking, and strength exercises on two or more days a week involving all the major muscles (back, hips, legs, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

Or:

On a weekly basis, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity like running or a game of singles tennis and strength exercises on two or more days a week that involve all the major muscles.

Or:

Exercise that is a mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week. For example, two x 30-minute runs combined with 30 minutes of brisk walking equal to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and strength exercises on two or more days a week involving all the major muscles of the body like the back, hips, legs, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.

A good rule to remember is that one minute of vigorous activity offers the same health benefits as two minutes of moderate physical activity.

Also, a good way to get the recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise is to do 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

The NHS also recommends that all adults should punctuate long periods of sitting with some light activity.

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