Sedentary people are more likely to be depressed, note researchers in Psychosomatic Medicine. Exercise boosts fitness and elevates mood.
Researchers at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, asked 20 out of a group of 40 men and women who normally exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes to stop exercising for two weeks. After one week, the non-exercisers reported fatigue, low energy, and sleep problems. By week two, complaints included more irritability and sadness than those who kept working out.
People who began the study more fit had a greater loss of fitness and the worst mood changes. Researchers speculate that exercising shifts the nervous system away from stress activation and helps boost mood.
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