Withdrawal from exercising causes depression and other mental symptoms

Those who exercise regularly are well aware of the many benefits of physical activities that get your blood pumping and your limbs moving. Nevertheless, here’s another reason to keep at it: you’re keeping the blues at bay.

Research shows that sedentary folks are more prone to depression than those who get regular exercise. In addition, new research indicates that symptoms of depression may develop quickly when an exercise regimen is interrupted.

Researchers at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, recruited 40 subjects who exercised at least 90 minutes each week. Half the group stopped exercising for two weeks while the other half continued their normal routine. At the end of the first week, the non-exercisers showed physical signs of depression (fatigue, sleep problems, poor appetite), followed in the second week by mental symptoms (sadness, irritability).

Although there was no significant drop in general fitness in just two weeks, those in the non-exercise group who had been in the best physical shape experienced the most pronounced symptoms of depression.

“Exercise Withdrawal Causes Mood Change Within Days” Anne Harding, Reuters Health, 5/12/06, reutershealth.com