Stopping Exercise Suddenly May Increase Depressive Symptoms: Study

According to the study, adequate physical activity and exercise were found to be integral for both physical and mental health of people.

The rise in depression cases are fast becoming an alarming concern across the globe, especially in the last two decades. With every passing instant, the number of patients diagnosed with depression, is touching new records. Latest estimates from WHO show that by 2030, depression will be the leading cause of disability worldwide, drawing attention to the fact that immediate measures must be taken by all countries to address depression and prevent it.

According to a latest study, symptoms of depression may escalate quickly when exercise is stopped suddenly. The study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, claimed the importance of physical activity in treatment of depression.

For the study, PhD student Julie Morgan from the University of Adelaide’s Discipline of Psychiatry reviewed the results of earlier studies that examined the effects of stopping exercise midway through in regular adults and drew comparisons.

According to the study, adequate physical activity and exercise were found to be integral for both physical and mental health of people.

According to the current public health guidelines, one needs to be active on most if not all days of the week. 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week is recommended to maintain health and prevent depression, according yo the guidelines. The physical activity has also shown its impact in treating depression

The studies concern was to explore into what happens with depressive symptoms when exercise is stopped.

The study reviewed cases of cessation of exercise in 152 adults. They had each undertaken at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week, for a minimum of three months.

It was revealed that in some cases, ceasing the amount of exercise led to unwanted increase in depressive symptoms, that too in just less than 3 days. Other studies revealed that the depressive symptoms began to show up after the first one or two weeks. Which is still quite less a span.

The limitation of the study was that the study group was very small. Nor did it investigate how the sudden cessation of exercise leads to such ramifications. The study however, reinforced that it is important to understand the link and potential impact of such factors. This may help treatment of depression.

There may not be a sure shot cure for depression, but there is a possibility manage it better. Your diet may play a crucial role in doing so. Here are some foods you must include in your diet if you are facing depression.

1. Complex carbohydrates: Include foods that are rich in complex carbs in your diet like whole grains and brown rice. A lot of studies have shown that low carb diets have been linked to nervousness, anxiety, decreased concentration and insomnia.

2. Vitamin D: A deficiency of this nutrient if often linked with mood swings and depression. Add natural sources of Vitamin D like mushrooms, eggs and soy milk to your diet.

3. Antioxidants: Antioxidants can help in reducing the oxidative stress on your mental health. Berries and foods like cherries, grapes and dark leafy greens are your best bet.

4. Good quality proteins: Protein rich foods are known to boost alertness. Some of them contain an amino acid called tryptophan which helps your body make the mood boosting brain chemical, serotonin. Peas, beans, soya, lentils and paneer are good options and so are chicken and fish.

A regular exercise regimen and healthy balanced diet may go a long way in managing depression. However, nothing can substitute proper medical help. Make sure you or your friends know about the symptoms and seek immediate help.


Disclaimer: All information, data and material has been sourced from multiple authors and is for general information and educational purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of your treating doctor.

The views and nutritional advice expressed are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

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