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Can exercise prevent depression?

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There’s one more reason you should lace up your runners and hit your local Fernwood for a workout, with a new study finding that exercise could reduce your risk of depression. 

We know that exercise produces those happy-inducing endorphins, but research conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital has found that just 15 minutes of high-intensity physical activity could be enough to positively impact your mental health. 

"Using genetic data, we found evidence that higher levels of physical activity may causally reduce risk for depression," says Karmel Choi, lead author of the report published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal.

“Our rough calculations suggest that replacing sitting with 15 minutes of a heart-pumping activity like running, or with an hour of moderately vigorous activity, is enough to produce the average increase in accelerometer (physical activity) data that was linked to a lower depression risk.”

So not only is your physical health reaping the benefits of that group fitness class, PT session or small group training class, but your mental health is too.

This new research compliments the findings of Deakin University’s Food and Mood Centre, that a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of some mental disorders.

You’ll find Mediterranean-inspired recipes in all Fernwood Food Coaching and program meal plans, such as the 12 Week Challenge which begins on 18 February. 

Research will continue to evolve on the topic to see how physical activity can benefit people with or at risk of depression.

“We currently are looking at whether and how much physical activity can benefit different at-risk groups, such as people who are genetically vulnerable to depression or those going through stressful situations and hope to develop a better understanding of physical activity to promote resilience to depression," says Choi.

Kick start your health and fitness goals with a FREE Fernwood Guest Pass.