The simple and natural way to keep depression at bay could be one that has no side effects and a host of other benefits attached to it – a large Norwegian study has found that exercise can keep away depression and anxiety.
In particular, it was seen to be leisure time exercise rather than the activity that forms a part of one’s daily routine that was beneficial for people.
According to the researchers, it was probably the level of social interaction involved in leisure time exercise that was responsible for this, since interaction and exercise helps improve mental health.
So rather than activity per se, it was the physical activity plus the social interaction that it entailed that was seen to be beneficial for people and the reason why leisure time exercise helped reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
According to lead researcher Dr Samuel Harvey, from the Institute of Psychiatry, the context in which the activity takes place is vital and social support and number of friends is linked to enhanced mental fitness rather than biological fitness markers. While exercise can give you a natural high and boost your mood, it is more than just that. The mental health benefit derived from social interaction is not to be underestimated.