When you are feeling down, getting up and moving might be part of feeling better. A new study from Finland researchers indicates that men who spent less than one hour per week performing moderate to vigorous exercise are 37 percent more likely to report feelings of hopelessness compared to men who are physically active at least 2.5 hours per week.
The findings align with previous studies showing regular exercise can help lessen depression symptoms. Doctors are more routinely suggesting that patients add workouts to any medications or nutrition prescriptions they might recommend.
Hopelessness itself has been strongly linked to increased risk for heart problems and mortality independent of clinical depression. This is an important point to researchers, that hopelessness and depression are not reliant on each other as human conditions. You can be depressed but not automatically hopeless; or you can feel hopeless but not necessarily be classifed as clinically depressed.
Another issue: Feelings of hopelessness increases the likelihood of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that can lead to diabetes.
The study, led by Dr. Maarit Valtonen of Kuopio University Hospital, evaluated the moods and physical activity levels of nearly 2,500 men between 42 and 60 years old. The connection between hopelessness and lack of physical activity was constant, even when other lifestyle factors such as age, socioeconomic status and smoking were considered.
Significantly, vigorous exercise proved particularly effective in reducing feelings of hopelessness. Moreover, bursts of physical activity contributed to less hopelessness and brighter moods no matter if physical conditioning improved or not.
Bob Condor blogs for Alternative Health Journal every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.