We are constantly told how important it is to practice regular physical activity… And it is certainly not for nothing. A sedentary lifestyle does not rhyme with good health since it would increase the risk of obesity, overweight and cardiovascular disease. But not only. In addition to all this, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Iowa, reveals that not moving enough could also lead to anxiety and depressive disorders. Research confirming that sedentary behaviors can indeed play a role in mental health.
Move to be less depressed?
In order to reach this conclusion, in the spring of 2020, in full confinement, the specialists analyzed the behavior of more than 3,000 people, who were asked to indicate the time they spent doing physical activity and that that they passed in front of a screen, comparing that with their pre-pandemic habits. The participants were also subjected to specific questionnaires which aimed to assess their mental well-being and to detect the possible presence of depressive symptoms (anxiety, stress, loneliness, etc.).
Result of the races: it appeared that people who moved regularly during the period preceding the confinements had been forced to reduce their physical activity by 32%. And this has had an impact on their mental health, as they have reported feeling more depressed, anxious and alone than before.
Sitting is even worse
The study also reveals that in terms of a sedentary lifestyle, there would be nothing worse than staying in a seated position for hours without ever moving, at least to stretch their legs.
People who spent their days of confinement remaining mainly seated developed depressive symptoms in a much higher proportion than people who nevertheless made the effort to be at least active.
The authors of this report recall that a sedentary lifestyle leads to a reduction in the production of endorphins, the hormones responsible for overall well-being, which help to fight against feelings of fatigue, irritability but also to regulate the ‘mood. In order not to sink when the depression wins us, the secret is perhaps simply to move.