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Browsing by Author "Jansson, Maarit"

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  • Jansson, Maarit (2016)
    Depression is a common mental disorder worldwide and it is typically treated with antidepressants and/or psychological therapy. However, there has been a growing interest in alternative approaches, such as exercise, as methods of prevention and treatment of depression. Previous observational and interventional studies have suggested that exercise and physical activity are associated with reduced likelihood of depressive symptoms and depression. The mechanisms mediating this association remain poorly understood. In order to improve exercise intervention as a treatment of depression, it is crucial to examine, which mechanisms are dominant in the association. Therefore, this review focuses on the roles of antidepressant mechanisms of exercise. The published results indicate that especially regular exercise of moderate intensity approximately three times a week lowers the odds of depressive symptoms and depression. The mechanisms that have gained the most support in the studies are the endorphin hypothesis, the brain derived neurotrophic factor hypothesis, the distraction hypothesis, the self-efficacy and mastery hypothesis and the social interaction hypothesis. However, it is yet unknown, which of these mechanisms are in a dominating position. It seems that for example the intensity and the duration of the exercise, as well as the motivation and gender of the exerciser, may play a role in the association between the exercise and depression. In conclusion, the results have been variable and further research is needed to clarify the antidepressant mechanisms of exercise.