Physically Train to Aid the Brain

Depression related to insufficient exercise

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) With hundreds of channels, programs, and movies available to at the click of a button, it's becoming all too tempting to tune into another series instead of taking a walk outdoors, or to order a movie through your cable box or game console instead of playing a physical game.

Although several previous studies highlighted the relationship between physical activity and depression, a study polling tens of thousands of U.S. women shed additional light on the relationship between exercise and depression, and highlights an association with television.  

"Physical activities will keep your mind healthy."

Monitoring the results of women without depression in 1996, almost 50,000 women input their experience, with over 6,000 of them clinically-diagnosed depressed within the following ten years. The women were asked to report specific lifestyle, exercise, and television-viewing habits, with a data table organized in five-columns dependent on minutes/day of physical activity to demonstrate results.

The study concluded that older women who exercised more frequently and spent less time watching the television were the least likely subjects to be diagnosed with depression.  Women watching over three hours of television a day ended up considerably more depressed than those who barely watched any.  

Women with more than 90 minutes of physical activity a day ended up watching less TV and having higher mental health scores. 

Although the television connections innovative, a seven-year-old UT Southwestern study done was the first to suggest using exercise alone to treat mild depression. Madhukar Trivedi, M.D. and UT Southwestern's current "Distinguished Chair in Mental Health" told UT Southwestern's newsroom in 2005: "the effect you find using aerobic exercise alone in treating clinical depression is similar to what you find with antidepressant medications. The key is the intensity of the exercise and continuing it for 30 to 35 minutes per day. It's not for the faint of heart."

"Fortunately for depression sufferers, this new study also provides them additional ammo for their arsenal of treatments. Talk with your doctor to help find the right exercise program for you."

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 14, 2011
Last Updated:
November 15, 2011