Exercise can strongly reduce depression, boost brain health

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In a new study from Ruhr-Universität Bochum, researchers confirmed the dual beneficial effect of physical activity in depression.

They found physical activity not only reduces depressive symptoms. It also increases the brain’s ability to change, which is necessary for adaptation and learning processes.

The results show how important, seemingly simple things like physical activity are in treating and preventing illnesses such as depression.

People with depression often withdraw and are physically inactive.

In the study, the team tested 41 people who were undergoing treatment at the hospital. The participants were each assigned to one of two groups, one of which completed a three-week exercise program.

The program, which was developed by the sports science team, was varied, contained fun elements, and did not take the form of a competition or test, but instead required teamwork from the participants.

The study team ascertained the severity of the depressive symptoms, such as a loss of drive and interest, lack of motivation and negative feelings, both before and after the program.

The brain’s ability to change, known as neuroplasticity, was also measured. It can be determined externally with the help of transcranial magnetic stimulation.

The results show that the brain’s ability to change is lower in people with depression than in healthy people.

Following the program with physical activity, this ability to change increased strongly and achieved the same values as healthy people. At the same time, depressive symptoms decreased in the group.

The team says the more the ability to change increased, the more clearly the clinical symptoms decreased. This shows that physical activity has an effect on symptoms and the brain’s ability to change.

It is known that physical activity does the brain good, as it, for instance, promotes the formation of neuron connections. This could certainly also play a role here.

If you care about depression, please read studies about how to help someone you live with who has depression and findings of 9 high blood pressure drugs could lower depression risk.

For more information about depression and your health, please see recent studies about this popular supplement may help reduce depression and results showing that your heart rate could reliably show your depression risk.

The study is published in Frontiers in Psychiatry. One author of the study is Dr. Karin Rosenkranz.

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