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Study links sedentary lifestyle to increased depression risk

The mental health benefits of excercise

A meta-analysis of over 100,000 people conducted in 2014 has shown a positive correlation between increased sedentary time and higher rates of depression. Additionally, a study from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic indicated that prolonged sitting made it harder for people to overcome depression.

Jenni Crumpton Ross, President and CEO of Kula for Karma, a non-profit dedicated to evidence-based mindfulness programs, highlighted the mental health benefits of exercise.

“The scientifically proven mental health benefits of exercise are extensive, and well known—mood and energy boosts and better sleep due to endorphins, more oxygen and blood to the brain, dopamine secretions and other brain chemicals that are released, and so on.” Ross said in a written statement. “But there is a secret involved—a scientifically-backed reason that movement and exercise are critical for mental health that is rarely discussed in the mainstream: trauma release.”

Ross pointed out a less-discussed benefit of physical activity: trauma release. This aspect is critical for mental health but is often overlooked in mainstream discussions.

As sedentary lifestyles continue to be a public health concern, Ross emphasizes the importance of movement and exercise not just for physical health, but for mental well-being as well. Her insights reinforce the need for integrating regular physical activity into daily routines to combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting and to promote overall mental health.