Many a times, people tend to overlook the fact that physical activity also has a healing effect on mental health conditions. Regular exercise has many health benefits and various studies have found that depressed people or those diagnosed with anxiety or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) benefit a lot even with moderate physical activity.
Regular exercise need not include strenuous activities. The movement of the body during physical activity lends an extensive sense of well-being to those seeking treatment for depressive and anxiety symptoms and signs of other mental illnesses.
The “National Physical Therapy Month” sponsored in the United States by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) in October every year highlights the importance of physical activity and the way it helps in bringing about transformation in one’s physiological and psychological conditions.
Physical activity can help alleviate tendencies to fall into depression
The effect of physical activity on people afflicted with an acute form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was recently studied by a group of researchers from the University of Zurich in Switzerland and the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It was found that prevalence of other health conditions is common in patients diagnosed with COPD.
While such patients are prone to bouts of depression or anxiety due to the gravity of the disorder, the study, titled “Physical activity reduces anxiety and depression in patients with COPD,” revealed that physical activity can help alleviate their tendencies to fall into depression or to get overtly anxious.
The findings presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress in September 2016 indicated that low physical activity, a significant characteristic of COPD patients, is deemed to be an important risk factor for other health disorders. The researchers’ analysis was based on an examination of 409 patients admitted to primary care practice in the Netherlands and Switzerland.
The authors of the study investigated the level of physical activity by patients by making use of the Longitudinal Ageing Study Amsterdam Physical Activity Questionnaire at baseline. The respondents were observed for up to five years.
During the follow-up, the respondents were required to inform about their other diseases, including cardiac, neurological, hormonal and musculoskeletal problems, cancer and other infectious diseases. The patients then completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale questionnaire for analysis of their mental condition.
The scientists found that increased levels of physical activity at baseline were linked to a decreased risk of developing anxiety over the next five years by up to 11 percent. Also, patients were found to be at 15 percent decreased risk of being aggrieved with depressive symptoms.
The authors of the study said, “In COPD patients, those with high physical activity are less likely to develop depression or anxiety over time. Physical activity promotion programs may be considered to lower the burden of mental disorders in COPD patients.”
Help is available
The findings of the study seem obvious as most people understand the benefits of exercise. But its significance needs to be considered keeping in mind the occurrence of other mental health problems in COPD patients. The study revealed that as compared to less than 10 percent of depressed people in the general population, the pervasiveness of depression and anxiety is nearly 40 percent in patients with COPD.
If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental illness, including stress, depression, or anxiety, contact Sovereign Health to know about our various mental health treatment facilities in the U.S. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online for information about our anxiety disorders treatment centers in California.
Read the articles of the series “National Physical Therapy Month”: