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Activities like yoga can help treat depression, according to a new study. Other exercises, such as walking or strength training, may also be helpful.

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When a wave of depression hits, exercise may seem like the last thing you want to do. But new research says it may be crucial to feeling good.

Many types of exercise – including walkingto run, Yoga, tai chiaerobic exercises and strength training – have shown strong benefits as therapy when helping to treat depression. The study was published Wednesday in the BMJ.

“Depression affects somewhere between (10%) and 25% of people. It affects well-being more than debt, divorce, or diabetes,” lead researcher Dr. Michael Knottel, a senior lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland in Australia, said in an email. They said.

“Even now, only about half of people with depression receive any treatment.”

Researchers analyzed data from 218 studies on exercise and depression, involving more than 14,000 people.

Despite the risk of bias in the study, the whole-body benefits of exercise combined with data to suggest it can help with depression create strong treatment options, Notel said.

The results are similar to what many other studies have said about exercise, said Dr. Adam Checkrud, assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and founder of SpringHealth, a mental health care service. He did not participate in this study.

Chekroud’s 2018 study More than 1.2 million Americans who exercise report better well-being and mental health.

Both studies show that exercise is a good approach to treating depression and should be relied upon in conjunction with other options, including therapy and medication, Checkrod said.

“None of these treatments is a silver bullet. However, given how debilitating depression is, nearly all patients should be offered exercise and treatment, Notel said.

While the research suggests that more exercise and higher intensity is better, it is not necessary to start training like a professional athlete, the data says.

“It doesn’t matter how many people exercise in sessions or minutes per week,” Notel said. It didn’t matter how long the exercise program lasted.

Read more: Find the best exercise for you here

He said the intensity of the exercise made the biggest difference, but even walking had an impact.

Any exercise was better than none, but Notel recommended adding some challenge.

“At first, we thought that people with depression might need ‘understanding’. We find it much better to at least have a clear program to push you.

Many people struggle to find motivation to exercise, and adding depression on top of it makes it even harder to start.

In the studies Notel analyzed, setting and tracking goals didn’t seem to help.

“Instead, I think we need to pass on more proven wisdom about what works,” he said, pointing to support and accountability.

You can get it by joining a fitness group, getting a trainer, or asking a loved one to walk with you, Knotel added.

“Taking a few steps to get that support will make it more likely to continue,” he said.

And if your thing is weight training or walking, you need it Make the activity fun To keep.

“Be kind to your future self by making exercise as easy and engaging as possible, like an audio book or a tryout at a yoga studio,” Notel says.

The more you enjoy your exercise routine, the more confident you’ll be in overcoming exercise obstacles, meaning you’re more likely to stick with your regimen, he says. 2015 study.

“Then if it gets tough, be kind to yourself—we always forget how easy life is to get in some exercise, so make a backup plan as if your happiness depends on it… because it does,” Knottel said.