Everyone loves to tout the importance of exercise. Read any self-help book, wellness blog (guilty!), or influencer's Instagram caption and you'll hear all about the benefits of regular exercise. The oversharing of those benefits can sometimes be easily written off. But, the results of a recent scientific study might just change your mind about the positive effects of exercise and be the motivation you need to get a workout today!
The HUNT cohort study followed 33,908 "healthy" adults. These adults were deemed healthy and admitted into the study on the basis of having no symptoms of common mental disorder (like depression and anxiety) or limiting health conditions. Researchers followed these adults for over 11 years and kept track of their exercise, depression, anxiety and a range of possible factors that may influence depression and/or anxiety. Over the course of the study, 7% of the participants experienced depression.
When researchers looked into those who did and did not develop depression and their exercise habits, they found that an average of 90 minutes of exercise per week had a significant effect in preventing depression.
Moreover, 12% of future cases of depression could be prevented with just one hour of physical activity per week - regardless of the intensity of activity.
We all generally agree that when we're feeling healthier, we tend to feel happier. When investigators took a look into the mechanisms of how exercise prevents depression, they found that the social and physical benefits of exercise are key. Not only does exercise boost your physical health, but it connects you to others. Exercise helps your mind to fight off one of the most common and disabling illnesses globally and improves your social relations.
While exercise can help in preventing depression, it is not a panacea for the illness and should not replace other good mental health treatments (such as therapy and prescribed medications). If you want to ramp up the mood-boosting effects of exercise, a healthy diet is a good start. Diet plays an integral aspect in mental health. A review of multiple scientific studies concluded that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil, low-fat dairy and antioxidants was associated with a decreased risk in depression. Looking for a quick way to up your intake of fruits and vegetables? Organic, cold-pressed Living Juice is packed with fruits and vegetables. With no sugar or water added, Living Juice is the perfect start to that mood-boosting diet!