According to the World Health Organization, depression is one of the most common mental disorders on our planet, “affecting more than 300 million people globally”.
However, at a time when depression has been classified as the leading cause of global disability, according to The Lancet, certain lifestyle changes – particularly physical activity – are now recommended as strategies to reduce the incidence of depression. being seen.
So, here are 3 simple, yet research-backed and totally doable life changes that help cut your risk of depression almost in half:
one hour physical activity
In late 2017, a large-scale study was conducted in Norway involving more than 33,000 people over 11 years. Researchers concluded that exercising just one hour a week reduced the incidence of depression by 44%.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of depression and anxiety improve when you exercise, and research on depression and stress shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety. Can help to do.
Dr. Jordan Smoller, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School — who led a study on the relationship between physical activity and genetic risks of depression, which was published in 2019 — pointed out that all types of physical activity reduce the risks of depression. Has a beneficial effect. ,
This was confirmed by a study published in The Lancet medical journal in 2022, which included more than 160,000 participants between the ages of 38 and 70, and it became clear that their participation in low-intensity physical activities, such as walking, was associated with Had happened. The risk of depression is lower than not participating in any physical activity.
Studies indicate that encouraging various physical activities can significantly reduce the risk of depression.
The Harvard Health Publishing website, affiliated with Harvard Medical School, also said that “small doses of physical activity may be enough to avoid depression,” according to a review of 15 studies from around the world that included more than 191,000 people and published it was done. In 2022.
Compared with people who didn't exercise, people who did moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking for 75 minutes per week, were 18% less likely to develop depression, and the benefit was stronger in those who did not exercise. There was moderate-intensity activity up to 2.5. hours per week, because they had a lower risk of developing depression. Up to 25%.
In her report published in The New York Times in late 2019, Gretchen Reynolds, an American writer specializing in exercise and health, said that walking, jogging, yoga or any type of exercise – whether intense or light – can help prevent depression. Is, even for those who are willing. Hereditary infection.
According to the first study, conducted by Harvard University researchers in 2019 based on health record data from nearly 8,000 participants, physical activity may reduce the risk of depression “even though this is likely due to genetic factors.”
The researchers found that people who were more physically active at baseline were less likely to develop depression, even after taking genetic factors into account, and that “higher levels of physical activity did not help people with a higher genetic likelihood of developing depression.” Protected.”
They said their findings strongly suggest that “when it comes to depression, genetics are not predetermined, and physical activity has the potential to neutralize future episodes of depression in genetically at-risk individuals.” “
The researchers found that forms of physical activity — both high intensity and low intensity, including yoga and stretching — were associated with a lower likelihood of depression.
Taking vacations greatly reduces the risk of depression
Vacations can provide many physical and mental health benefits, “resulting in a state of satisfaction with life that can last for many months afterward, in addition to improving mood and relieving stress by removing people from activities and environments that involve them.” decreases that cause them stress and anxiety,” according to the Psychological Society. American.
A Canadian study conducted among more than 800 lawyers in 2009 found that vacations reduce depression and protect against work stress, and that a short vacation can even reduce stress.
In 2014, a small Japanese study showed that “3-day leisure travel reduces cortisol (stress hormone) levels.”
In 2018, the Allianz Global Vacation Assistance Index revealed in its annual report that nearly a third of Americans who believe vacations are important but don't take enough of them “suffer from symptoms of mild to moderate depression, while 12% Suffering from symptoms of mild to moderate depression.” Depression.” “Extreme depression.”
Planting trees reduces the risk of depression by more than 40%
According to the INC, the positive effects of spending time in nature on our mental health are well-documented, with science showing that living in a neighborhood filled with trees can have a significant impact on reducing the risk of depression.
A study conducted in Germany and published in 2020 also indicated that the more trees a neighborhood had, the lower the number of prescriptions for antidepressants among its residents.
A group of scientists planted trees on vacant lots in Philadelphia, and saw a 41.5% reduction in self-reported symptoms of depression in people living nearby.
Scientists have confirmed that “simply choosing to live on a green street or planting trees on the street where you live has a significant impact on reducing your risk of depression.”