Depression: Movement Protects - These sports are the most effective

Depression: Movement Protects - These sports are the most effective

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How sport and exercise protect against the development of depression

Regular exercise can be helpful in fighting depression. This also applies if the affected person has a family history of the disease.

The latest study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that just 30 minutes of exercise a day can prevent depression from developing. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Depression And Anxiety".

Which sports activities protect against dementia?

Activities such as the use of a treadmill, cross trainer or rowing machine, yoga classes and dance lessons can significantly reduce the risk of depression if you only do it for 30 minutes a day.

The more active you are, the lower the risk of depression

The study compares people who exercise 30 minutes a day with people who do little exercise. The athletes showed a lower risk of depression. If people trained more than 30 minutes a day, they benefited from an even better protective effect. In general, the following seems to apply: the sportier a person is, the lower the risk of developing depression.

Simple movement like walking slowly can protect us from depression

Even the simplest movements can protect us from the development of depression - sports equipment such as rowing machines or cross trainers are not always necessary. Running and even normal walking also protect. However, these activities were not as effective as aerobics classes, yoga, and training on equipment.

Data from almost 8,000 people were analyzed for the study

The data from 7,968 people were evaluated for the current study. Among them were 628 people who were diagnosed with depression within the two-year study period.

Training also protected against a genetically increased risk

The results show that people who exercise for at least 30 minutes a day are diagnosed with significantly fewer new episodes of depression, even if there is a high genetic risk for the disease. The study strongly suggests that genetic predisposition to depression does not automatically lead to the onset of the disease. Physical activity has the potential to intercept an increased risk of future episodes, even in people who are particularly vulnerable. Exercising 30 minutes a day could reduce the risk in such people and help protect yourself from future depression.

Activity also helps with existing depression

The results of the study could be used to advise people at risk of depression and to provide recommendations on what people can do to reduce their risk. This also applies to people with a family history of depression. “Our study saw physical activity as a way to prevent depression. But even if you already feel depressed, physical activity also helps, ”study author Karmel Choi of the Harvard School of Public Health said in a press release. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Physical activity offsets genetic risk for incidenKarmel W. Choi, Amanda B. Zheutlin, Rebecca A. Karlson, Min-Jung Wang, Erin C. Dunn et al .: Physical activity offsets genetic risk for incident depression assessed via electronic health records in a biobank cohort study, in Depression And Anxiety (query: 06.11.2019), Depression And Anxiety
  • New evidence that physical activity can lower depression risk, Harvard School of Public Health (query: 06.11.2019), Harvard School of Public Health

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