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Anxiety eased by exercise

1st November 2010

A study has shown that people who were regularly active in their spare time had less likelihood of being depressed and anxious.

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The study was a joint effort between the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London and researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the University of Bergen in Norway.

The researchers looked at data from 40,000 Norwegian people. They asked the participants how regularly and strenuously they exercised in their free time and during their work hours.

Participants were also assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

They saw that people who did not take exercise in their free time had nearly double the likelihood of depression symptoms when compared to people who took the most exercise.

Lead researcher Dr Samuel Harvey, from the Institute of Psychiatry, said: "Our study shows that people who engage in regular leisure-time activity of any intensity are less likely to have symptoms of depression."

"We also found that the context in which activity takes place is vital and that the social benefits associated with exercise, like increased numbers of friends and social support, are more important in understanding how exercise may be linked to improved mental health than any biological markers of fitness," he added.

 

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