Doing any sort of physical activity helps our brain and body in positive ways. Now, a new study shows that doing physical activities while depressed can reduce its symptoms, as well as help the brain to change and adapt.
This is being reported by researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany, following a study, that analyzed 41 people, all of whom were undergoing treatment at the hospital.
“The results show how important seemingly simple things like physical activity are in treating and preventing illnesses such as depression,” said the study leader associate professor Karin Rosenkranz.
The study had two groups, each assigned with its own task. One of the groups completed a three-week exercise program, the other, that did a program without physical activity.
“This specifically promoted motivation and social togetherness while breaking down a fear of challenges and negative experiences with physical activity – such as school PE lessons,” said Rosenkranz.
The team investigated the severity of the depressive symptoms, such as a loss of drive and interest, the lack of motivation, and negative feelings, both before and after the program. Based on the research, the team reported that for those who previously did no physical activity, their brain’s ability to change was lower compared to those who are healthy. In fact, after the program was complete, they saw a significant change to the brains and reported that it had achieved the same values as healthy people. It also decreased depressive symptoms for the group.
However, those that did no physical activity saw that there were not many changes to the brain or the symptoms.
In the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, Rosenkranz noted that although physical activity did have an effect on the symptoms and the ability to change, it wasn’t yet confirmed to what extent the changes are linked.
“It is known that physical activity does the brain well, as it, for instance, promotes the formation of neuron connections,” said Rosenkranz.
Regardless, if you’re feeling under the weather, try to move your body, and do some physical activity as this might help your brain change and adapt.