December 05, 2013 15:00 ET

Curves: How Exercise Can Help Beat Depression

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwired - Dec. 5, 2013) - We all know the health benefits that are promoted for exercise; from reducing your risk of developing cancer, heart disease and strokes. But something that is not often talked about as much, is the fact that exercise is also known to sometimes help treat and prevent depression too.

The study from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine reveals that those who do not show signs of depression now can prevent it in the future by performing even some light exercise now.

George Mammen, a University of Toronto doctorate student is the author behind the work, and his advice is: 'If you're active, keep sustaining it; if you're not, then start'.

His findings revealed that 150 mins of exercise a week resulted in an 8 per cent decrease in depression, which increased with more exercise for those who have mild depression. Meanwhile, a few hours of light exercise a week can be used as an alternative treatment for mild depression too.

The mood boost provided by being active is caused by the release of endorphins, often called 'runner's high' which give a more positive outlook on life and reduces stress.

Curves, say exercise is just as important for a person's mental well-being as physical, commenting: 'Most people begin to take up an exercise regime to improve their appearance either by losing weight, toning up or to get fit and improve their health and fitness. However, exercise has many mental health benefits too, and as this study shows it can even act in preventing depression in the future in people who don't have it at the moment, but may not realise they are at risk.

'Depression in the elderly has been linked to previous inactivity, and so if you start participating in a bit of light exercise now - jogging or even walking on a treadmill, swimming, aerobics or yoga - you can help to prevent it in later years, as well as feel a sense of accomplishment now and improve your general health at the same time'.

Depression affects 1 in 5 elderly people, according to the Mental Health Foundation, so if people can recognise the significance of exercise now, then they could prevent themselves being one of the five in the future.

As well as being good for your all-round health, however, Curves say the benefits of exercise are many: 'It can help you feel good about yourself, to think clearly and help forget about the stresses of everyday life. Our Curves Complete program combines the right exercise with a healthy eating plan, as well as one on one coaching. You will get support and encouragement from a coach who will get to know you and understand your goals, further improving your sense of achievement and enjoyment of exercise'.

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