Exercising fifteen minutes vigorously, or an hour of moderate physical activity according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry (2019 doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4175) may significantly reduce risk factors for depression.
Large-scale genome-wide association studies were conducted by Harvard University and Members of the Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium used mendelian randomization analysis which relies on genetic evidence with a sample size of over 600,000 male and females subjects saw a causal reduction of risk for depression in those that had higher levels of physical activity.
With this data, Karmel Choi, PhD, of the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit I the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Genomics Medicine determined that if knowing an associated factor link to an outcome it is important because it can set the stage for future research.
Predictability of physical activity and depression reduction could become the norm of research. Programs could identify specific conditions and protocols for reversal would develop, causing an increase the application of successful treatment.
Although these finding are promising, depression is a very complicated subject and trying to specifically look at a gene to determine a person’s propensity to developing depression is in its infancy.
We are moving in the right direction. Exercise reduces stress and anxiety while boosting self-esteem and promotes better sleep. At the very least there is more evidence that physical activity is beneficial to a healthy life!