November 15, 2019 - 14:15 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - New research that objectively monitored the movement of depressed patients provides evidence that moderate — but not light — intensity physical activity is associated with reduced depressive symptoms. The findings have been published in the journal Psychiatry Research, according to PsyPost.
Dr. Ioannis D. Morres, the lead author of this study, reports:
Although exercise is a type of physical activity with well-established antidepressant effects in clinical settings, depressed outpatients may often dropout from community-based exercise programs. A potential explanation suggests depressed patients may find exercise too taxing, as it is planned, repetitive, structured and purposive, and needs to be group-based and supervised according to guidelines for depression treatment.
According to The World Health Organization (2011), however, reports that exercise is not necessarily the only type of physical activity linked to lower depression. Particularly, the WHO guidelines report that various physical activity subsets (e.g., walking, cycling or sports) across different daily life domains (e.g., work, house or leisure) are linked to lower risk for depression when performed ≥30minutes/day for ≥5times/week at moderate intensity (in moderate intensity your heart will beat faster and you will breath harder than normal, but you will still be able to talk).
In line with WHO guidelines, a number of studies suggest daily life physical activity subsets including cycling, walks or long hikes are associated with reduced depression severity; importantly, these subsets do not carry the potentially taxing characteristics of exercise (e.g., planned, supervised or group-based).
But the promising evidence for the antidepressant links of physical activity subsets is typically derived from subjective (self-report) measures. Subjective measures may often record inaccurate information due to poor concentration and memory skills of depressed patients. Hence, a number of studies reporting a lack of an association between subjectively measured physical activity and mental health are unsurprising and potentially confusing.