A little exercise — which is far from the recommended guidelinescan help prevent depression among adults, according to an enormous study that was published on one day ago in JAMA Psychiatry.
The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially recommend 150-300 minutes moderate exercise (fast walking) and 75-150 minutes vigorous activity (jogging or swimming, basketball,) every week for adults.
These numbers were derived through research and scientific studies. They are the “dose” quantity that is believed to reduce the risk of many different diseases including heart disease, cancer, diabetes to mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.
However, these recommendations from the government even at their lowest level, can be translated into “real individual duration” up to 5-30 minutes of fast walks per week or five vigorous 15-minute daily jogs.
It’s quite a bit of daily exercise for extremely overwhelmed and busy adults, especially when they’ve been idle for long periods of time.
This is a large number of us. Around 80percent of American adults aren’t getting the recommended daily allowance of exercise and are thought to be not enough active. The issue is more severe for women than males.
This is why the findings from the JAMA Psychiatry study are so convincing.
The study, an analysis that combines the results from several studies that have been published on exercises and depression preventionis the first to determine how many minutes of daily exercise can prevent depression. The results showed that people who completed the minimum for 150 minutes moderate exercise (or 75 minutes vigorous) were at an increase of 25% in the risk of being depressed. However, those who exercised just half as amount experienced an 18% lower risk of developing depression. These results were more evident when you were inactive , compared to those who were just exercising for a short period of time.
It’s a great news for those who would like to benefit from the improved mental health that comes from regular exercise However, they may find the guidelines from WHO/CDC daunting or unattainable.
If you’re considering making the change in their lifestyle to regular exercise: A good changes in behavior are difficult to make, but continuous, unneeded pain is even more difficult. Here are some tips that can make a real the difference:
Go for habit over hardship. Start by focusing on developing a simple habit that you can continue to build rather than an high-risk goal for exercise duration or the intensity.
Start with a low goal. Example: set a goal of 10 minutes of walking , rather than 30 minutes. You can take more than 10 minutes if you’re feeling like it but not lower than that.
Don’t be a fussy or expensive. It’s possible to walk for 10 minutes in almost all shoes and in any clothing. It doesn’t require any special equipment or ideal conditions. Just go with the imperfections and then get over it.
Include exercise in your schedule for the day. To aid in remembering you should plan your workout at the time you’re able to repeat several times per week, like right after your shower in the morning or during your lunch break.
Set yourself a daily limit. If your life does not allow you to schedule workouts, then establish the general “by this time every day” …” time” rule. For instance, “it doesn’t matter when I exercise however, by 8pm every night, I’ll complete every day’s walk.”
You can create a memorable experience. Pair your exercise with something else you are happy about. If you enjoy music, select your favorite music to listen to while walking. If you enjoy listening to podcasts or audiobooks select a truly interesting one you only listen to during your walk.
Prioritize exercising like you would any other medication within your head. Consider exercising as a prescription for medical treatment. It’s your daily routine. It is a crucial aspect for your mental wellbeing and, therefore, essential to keep in mind.
Never give up. If you fail to complete one day, a month or a week immediately, you can forgive yourself and walk. Reconsider strategy #3.
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, PhD, ABPP is a licensed psychologist, and board certified in cognitive and behavioral psychology. www.katherinedahlsgaard.com