Extended workouts can improve mood

According to research conducted at Penn State, adding a few minutes to a workout routine may improve life satisfaction and help stave off depression.

The study, which was funded by the National Institute of Aging, wanted to see the link between exercise and mood in people who were 18 to 25 years old. That particular age group was chosen because they may be more likely to experience a rapid decline in mood, according to the researchers.

“Emerging adults are going through a lot of changes; they are leaving home for the first time and attending college or starting jobs,” said research author Jaclyn Maher, a graduate student in kinesiology. “As a result, their satisfaction with life can plummet. We decided to focus on emerging adults because they stand to benefit the most from strategies to enhance satisfaction with life.”

Out of 190 of the participants, 63 entered information onto a secure website and answered questions about their life satisfaction, level of physical activity and self-esteem. The researchers also tried to factor in variables like body mass index (BMI), mental health and fatigue into their answers. The results, which were published in the journal Health Psychology, showed that increasing the time and intensity of one’s workout is linked to elevated levels of life satisfaction.

Diet and depression
According to the British Dietetic Association (BDA), nutrition also plays a role in mental health. The source notes that eating breakfast and regularly consuming food throughout the day is important for cognitive function and that people should try to have a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Protein is also important to include in every meal because its amino acids – such as tryptophan – can help ward off depression.

The University of Maryland also reports that clinical investigations have revealed that omega-3 fatty acids may help curb the effects of depression. You can get omega-3s in flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp milk as well as an Omegakrill supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals.

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