People less likely to implement fitness into their lifestyle routine are substantially more likely to experience depression, a new study published in BMC Medicine finds.
The new research was conducted by the University College London (UCL) and included over 150,000 participants in mid to late-adulthood as part of the UK Biobank study.
At the beginning of the study, the physical fitness of the participants was measured using a stationary bike and a grip strength test. Questionnaires were administered to measure any depressive or anxiety symptoms.
The same mental health assessment was administered several years later.
According to the UCL research group, lower fitness levels was linked to a significantly higher risk of anxiety several years following their initial assessment. The participants who engaged in more strenuous aerobic or muscular fitness had better mental health compared to their counterparts.
“We examined associations between individual and combined markers of cardiorespiratory fitness and grip strength with the incidence of common mental disorders,” wrote Aaron Kandola and his colleagues in their findings.
“Objective cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness markers represent modifiable risk factors for common mental disorders,” they also added.
“Public health approaches to improve physical fitness through combined aerobic and resistance activities could reduce the incidence of common mental disorders and improve physical health outcomes for people with mental health symptoms.”