A recent study found that staying physically fit also benefits your thinking. According to Norwegian experts, those who are in better health appear to need less medications to address mood disorders.
“We found that individuals who are in better physical condition fill less prescriptions for depression and anxiety medications,” said Linda Ernstsen, senior author and assistant professor of public health and healthcare at th Norwegian University of Technology and Science in Trondheim.
Researchers used information from the Trndelag Health Study, that has been collecting health information on over 250,000 inhabitants of that Norwegian province from 1984.
The research team compared the information with that obtained from the Norwegian Supplied Drug Registry, which provides a summary of the drugs prescribed in Norway.
In a prior investigation, Ernstsen and her coworkers discovered that those in good physical condition had a lower incidence of symptoms of depression during a follow-up ten years later. But the study didn’t draw any conclusions about anxiousness.
Researchers were able to examine both the use of antidepressant and antianxiety medications in this new study.
Researchers discovered that being physically fit benefits people of all ages and genders, but they also noted that some people gain more from health than others.
“We discover that men benefit more from exercising than women do. For the elderly, the linkages are also less obvious, Ernstsen noted in an educational institution news release.
However, exercise did provide a mental benefit for both women and the elderly.
Anyone who had filled a prescription for depression or anxiety medication before being included in the follow-up study and continued to take it for three months afterwards was excluded by the researchers in an effort to make a clearer distinction between physical fitness and mental health.
“In our statistical analysis, we also took anxiety and depression symptoms into account. We also feel rather certain that we started with a cohort that was largely anxiety- and depression-free, if the numbers are to be trusted, Ernstsen added.
One drawback of the study is that the researchers were only able to determine which medications were prescribed; they were unable to determine if the patients really took those prescriptions.
Nevertheless, the first writer Audun Havnen, a professor of psychologist at the institution, stated that there is “reason for optimism that those who receive prescription medicine exhibit greater complaints than those that are not seeing a doctor.”
Havnen stated in the release that the findings “indicate you may achieve protection through changing your bodily shape from inadequate to reasonable, so whatever you do is beneficial.”
According to researchers, if people wish to maintain or improve their physical condition, they should engage in physical activity that makes them sweat and out of breath.
Norwegian health authorities advise adults to engage in 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.