Depression is a common and disabling illness, affecting over 1 million Australian adults in any one year. Everyone at some point feels sad, moody or low, however, some people experience these feelings for longer periods of time – from weeks to years at higher intensity. Each person’s journey of depression can have variable symptoms and changes in behaviour resulting in multiple treatment options that are provided by a range of multidisciplinary health providers.
Recently Harvey et al, 2017, concluded in a cohort study that undertaking exercise can be associated with reducing the incidence of future depression episodes by up to 12%. Whilst other research reviews suggest the benefits of exercise on mental state and reducing the severity of the symptoms of depression.

So How Much Exercise is Needed?

Harvey et al, 2017, reports that any level of exercise can have a positive effect regardless of intensity. The study concluded that those who completed exercise, at any intensity, for at least 1 hour per week had reduced episodes of future depression. However, the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate intensity (such as 5 sessions of half an hour) exercise per week is ideal to maintain optimal health and fitness.
Exercise of any intensity includes anything from going for a casual walk or hike, a swim, gardening, cleaning the car, trying an exercise class or a sport.

How Exercise Helps?

– Currently it is believed that exercise increases energy levels, improves sleep patterns, and increases your sense of control and self-esteem.
– Exercise may act as a diversion from negative thoughts and mood.
– Exercise frequently involves being amongst a community and includes social contact.
– Physical activity may cause physiological effects due to changes in endorphins (inhibit the transmission of pain signals and produce feelings of euphoria) and monoamine (involved in the regulation of cognitive processes such as emotion, arousal and memory).

We, at Janet Brandt-Sarif Physiotherapy, are qualified to help you develop an appropriate exercise program to suit your specific needs. Don’t let any musculoskeletal pain prevent you reaping the benefits of exercise as with the correct advice and care, an appropriate plan can be drawn up for anyone. We are always here to help guide you and progress your management as needed.

If you or a friend or family member suffers depression visit the Black Dog Institute or Beyond Blue for additional information, research findings and support.
Black Dog Institute:
Beyond Blue:

Harvey, S. B., Øverland, S., Hatch, S. L., Wessely, S., Mykletun, A., & Hotopf, M. (2017). Exercise and the prevention of depression: Results of the HUNT cohort study. American Journal of Psychiatry.

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