Stopping exercise can make people experience depression, according to a recent study from the University of Adelaide, Australia
The team has reviewed the results of earlier studies that examined the effects of stopping exercise in regularly active adults.
These studies examined the 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.
In some cases, ceasing this amount of exercise led to significant increases in depressive symptoms after just three days.
Other studies showed that people’s depressive symptoms increased after the first one or two weeks, which is still quite soon after stopping their exercise.
The researchers said the depressive symptoms arising from stopping exercise occurred in the absence of the typical biological markers commonly involved with depressive symptoms.
Therefore, it suggests some kind of novel effect in these cases.
For now, it is important that people understand the potential impact on their mental well-being when they suddenly cease regular exercise.
Adequate physical activity and exercise are important for both physical and mental health.
Current public health guidelines recommend being active on most if not all days of the week.
At least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week is recommended to maintain health and prevent depression, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise for added health benefits.
There is still limited research into what happens with depressive symptoms when exercise is stopped.
The lack of research in this specific area points to the need for further studies, to help better understand the way in which stopping exercise affects depressive symptoms.
The study is published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
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