You’re well aware that sitting is bad for your physical health, but a recent study has shown that sitting has a negative effect on mental health. Researchers in Australia studied 8,950 women ages 50 to 55 to determine if prolonged sitting and lack of exercise had an effect on increasing depression.
The women completed surveys in 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010 based on sitting time, physical activity and depressive symptoms. The results were studied in 2011 and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The researchers looked for an association between all three of the topics surveyed and found that women who sat for more than seven hours a day had a 47 percent higher risk of depression symptoms than women who sat for four hours or less a day.
The study went on to reveal that women who didn’t participate in any physical activity (such as prolonged sitting and no exercise) had a 99 percent higher risk of developing depression symptoms than the women in the study who exercised.
The amount of exercise was based on 30 minutes per day according to guidelines set by the Australian government. Women who sat for long periods of time and didn’t exercise were three times more likely to have depression symptoms than women who sat less and were more physically active.
The study couldn’t pinpoint an exact association of whether depression causes a person to sit more and exercise less, or if sitting too long makes a person depressed. However, the women who sat more were much more likely to feel depressed in the present, but prolonged sitting didn’t predict depression years later.
The researchers concluded that more physical activity could actually alleviate present depressive symptoms and possibly prevent future symptoms later in middle-aged women. And reducing the amount of sitting time daily could relieve current symptoms of depression.
With this information, it just gives even more reason to stand up! Stand, stretch, adjust your desk, and move around to stay mentally alert and upbeat. To learn more, you can read the abstract from the study, HERE.