Sitting, Lack Of Exercise Linked With Symptoms Of Depression In New Study

Sitting All Day Might Be Making You Sad
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Sitting = sadness. Really.

A new study shows an association between sitting time and mental health. Particularly, the longer a person sits, the more likely he or she is to have symptoms of depression. The findings, first reported in Runner's World, were reached by researchers from Victoria University and the University of Queensland.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is based on 8,950 women ages 50 to 55 who answered surveys in 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010.

Researchers took note of their depressive symptoms and physical activity levels, and also grouped them based on how much time they spent sitting each day (four or fewer hours a day, four to seven hours a day, or more than seven hours a day).

The study found that women who sat for more than seven hours a day were at a 47 percent higher risk for depressive symptoms, compared with women who sat for four or fewer hours a day. And women who didn't do any exercise had a 99 percent higher risk for depressive symptoms, compared with those who exercised according to physical activity guidelines.

Runner's World reported that those who sat the most and didn't exercise had the highest risk of all, with a tripled risk of experiencing depressive symptoms.

Of course, the study only shows an association and doesn't tease out whether depression causes one to want to sit or incline to inactivity, or if sitting for too long actually makes one depressed.

The Telegraph reported back in 2003 on a study of 25,000 people that showed an association between sitting in front of a computer for five hours a day and experiencing feelings of depression and anxiety. And Men's Health reported last year that slouching in one's chair can sap energy and increase depressive feelings.

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