But what about all those feel-good endorphins from exercise? Previous research has suggested that regular exercise (at least three times per week) helps to boost the mood’not to mention all of the physical benefits it provides.
Carried out by teams from the Universities of Bristol, Exeter and the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, the study involved 361 patients recently diagnosed with depresion. All of the patients were receiving therapy or anti-depressant treatment. They were split into two groups, with one group also given regular advice on how to increase their activity level. After a year, all participants had fewer signs of depression, with the more active group having no greater reduction in depression symptoms.
But does this really mean that exercise has no effect on depression? Since the study doesn’t report just how much exercise patients were regularly participating in, it’s hard to simply conclude that exercise doesn’t work.
"Numerous studies have reported the positive effects of physical activity for people suffering from depression but our intervention was not an effective strategy for reducing symptoms," says Melanie Chandler, of the University of Bristol’s School of Social and Community Medicine.
"However, it is important to note that increased physical activity is beneficial for people with other medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease and, of course, these conditions can affect people with depression."
Regardless of whether or not exercise is effective at treating depression, its physical benefits are certain. And when you feel good physically, doesn’t it have at least a little bit of benefit on your mood? Personally, I find regular exercise and feeling physically fit to have a great impact on my mood.
What do you think about the results of this study? How does regular exercise affect your mood?