There are no two ways around it, when you exercise regularly you feel better (well, mentally if not physically and I take care of the physical aches and pains for you!). I know from both a personal and professional stand point that patients and friends and family alike often tend to be in better spirits when they are active and getting regular exercise each day.

There have been countless studies showing not just the physical but also the psychological benefits of exercise and while checking current news articles today, I came across a study that now shows that exercise may not just help those with depression, it may actually help prevent depression from occurring in some people.

Now that’s pretty incredible!

The study was recently published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. It appears that exercise can be particularly beneficial for women who, as they age, often develop depression.

The study looked at 10 years’ worth of data from nearly 3,000 women between the ages of 42 and 52. Essentially all data came from self-reported questionnaires which asked questions about depressive symptoms and amounts of exercise. The result was pretty overwhelming! Of those women who reported 150 minutes (or more) each week of moderate intensity exercise (which is the current public health recommendation for exercise) fewer of these women reported any type of symptoms of depression.

Still not convinced? Here are some other fascinating facts about what exercise does to the body and mind:

  • Exercise increases norepinephrine, a chemical which helps regulate the brain’s response to stress.
  • Many studies have shown that depression can be treated as effectively with exercise as it can be with antidepressants.
  • Exercise is a self-confidence booster!
  • Working out in our golden years can help prevent cognitive decline. Even earlier on, between the ages of 25 and 45 can boost chemicals which will help prevent the hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory) from degenerating.
  • Those suffering from anxiety disorders have noted a decrease in anxiety after working out.
  • Studies with mice have shown that exercise can boost brainpower. This is because levels of BDNF (a protein in the brain) are increased as a result.
  • Productivity on the job is increased among those who workout regularly.
  • Levels or seratonin and dopamine are elevated in the brain as a result of exercise. These chemicals are linked with positive moods and outlooks.
  • Creativity and intuition are also known¬†to sharpen.
  • Sex life is improved among those who work out regularly, according to many studies.

So what do you think? Does this give you even more incentive to hit the gym this weekend? Your body and mind will thank you.