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Exercise and Depression
Recent studies have shown adults who took a brisk walk for what amounted to 2 ½ hours per week were less likely to develop depression than those who didn’t exercise at all. Even those who exercised less, fared better than those who didn’t exercise at all, showing that relatively small doses of physical activity can be associated with substantially lower risks of depression.
Many aspects of exercise can lead to improved mental health; for example, working out can increase circulation to the brain and activate the central nervous system, leading to what many refer to as “runners high”. More exercise can also lead to improved physical health and a better body image, which can cause a person to be more social, have greater self-confidence and to be generally happier.
Nearly 5% of adults in the U.S. report regular feelings of depression according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers estimate that 1 in every 9 cases of depression might have been prevented by meeting recommended exercise guidelines.
Physical activity plays an important role in your health, well-being and quality of life. Health Canada recommends the following guidelines to help maintain a healthy lifestyle:
Be active at least 2.5 hours a week to achieve health benefits.
Focus on moderate to vigorous cardiovascular activity throughout each week, broken into sessions of 10 minutes or more.
Pick up weight and get stronger by adding activities that target your muscles and bones at least two days per week.
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