• Depression: Sedentary Lifestyle

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    While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious condition that has an impact on both physical and mental health. One in five women and one in eight men will experience depression at some point in their lives.  Depression is a complicated condition, which can involve a number of contributing factors such as genes, environment, lifestyle, brain activity, psychology and personality.

    A new analysis has shown that too much sitting at the computer or lying around watching TV is linked to a greater risk of depression.

    Based on dozens of studies covering nearly 200,000 participants from all around the world, Chinese researchers found that sedentary behaviour was linked to a 25% higher likelihood of being depressed compared to people who were more active.

    In their report, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the researchers say they also saw differences depending on people’s preferred type of inactivity. Those whose most frequent sedentary behaviour was watching TV were 13% more likely to be depressed, while those who spent their sedentary time using the computer or Internet, had a 22% higher depression risk.

    A circular problem

    The analysis didn’t look at the reasons behind the links. And, the study team points out, most of the included studies accounted for other factors, like illnesses, that …

    The  researchers also found that the association between physical activity and white-matter structural integrity was region-specific.

    Older adults who engaged more often in light physical activity had greater structural integrity in the white-matter tracts of the temporal lobes, which lie behind the ears and play a key role in memory, language, and the processing of visual and auditory information.

    In contrast, those who spent more time sitting had lower structural integrity in the white-matter tracts connecting the hippocampus, a structure crucial for learning and memory.

    Regular exercise can be an effective way to prevent or manage mild anxiety and depression. Physical activity causes brain pleasure centres to be stimulated and leads to feelings of wellbeing. Some research studies indicate that regular exercise may be as effective as other treatments like medication to relieve milder depression. Generally, exercise has a place in treatment as part of a comprehensive approach to the illness.

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