The relationship between exercise and depression isn’t exactly novel; most people are probably aware of the exercising-gives-you-endorphins relationship at a pretty young age (AKA the first time watching Legally Blonde). But, a newly published review of studies sought to evaluate the inverse situation of how depression symptoms are impacted when a person ceases their sweat-sesh routine.
Published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the research examined studies that followed 152 adults who worked out for a minimum of 30 minutes three times a week for at least three months. When these participants subsequently stopped working out, researchers were—rather quickly—able to identify shifts in depressive symptoms.
Bernhard Baune, PhD, head of psychiatry at the University of Adelaide and review co-author, told Science Daily that the results showed that “in some cases, ceasing this amount of exercise induced significant increases in depressive symptoms after just three days” adding that in other studies, participants have seen depressive symptoms after one or two weeks, which, he notes, is “still quite soon.”
While this research is small in scope, and authors note more studies and trials are needed in order to form a totally compelling relationship, the findings may serve as reason enough to stay active as a means to keep your mood boosted. And regardless, since regular sweat seshes are shown to improve eye health, slow the aging process, and bust stress, you really can’t lose.
More from Well+Good: