What does exercise got to do with depression?
Well, you can actually boost the brain chemicals sapped by depression by exercising. A study shows that critical neurotransmitters were boosted by exercise. Intense exercise increases the levels of two common neurotransmitters that are linked to depression.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate are both involved in depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders.
According to Professor Maddock, “Major depressive disorder is often characterized by depleted glutamate and GABA, which return to normal when mental health is restored. Our study shows that exercise activates the metabolic pathway that replenishes these neurotransmitters.”
The study’s results are encouraging, concluded Professor Maddock:
“………It’s preliminary information, but its very encouraging. We are offering another view on why regular physical activity may be important to prevent or treat depression.
Not every depressed person who exercises will improve, but many will.
It’s possible that we can help identify the patients who would most benefit from an exercise prescription.”
The study was published in The Journal of Neuroscience (Maddock et al., 2016).