What is Depression?

How Can Exercise Help?

Depressive disorders are a group of illnesses characterised by excessive or long-term depressed mood and loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable. The symptoms can severely disrupt the person’s life.

The World Health Organisation (Who) International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD–10) has a very similar definition; ‘...a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration’, and predicts that by 2020 depression will reach 2nd place of the ranking of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) calculated for all ages and both sexes.

Depressive disorders are serious and distressing illnesses with real risks to the person’s life and well-being. Professional assessment and treatment is necessary. In severe instances, hospitalisation may be required initially. Fortunately, treatment of depression is usually very


  1. Central Monoamine theory (predicts that the underlying pathophysiologic basis of depression is a depletion in the levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and/or dopamine in the central nervous system) suggest exercise corrects MA dysfunction.

  2. Psychological factors also improve mood; thought to be via improved self-esteem and self-efficacy

  3. Exercise may distract from negative emotion

  4. Unclear what volume of exercise is needed to achieve anti-depressant effect, however, ACSM guidelines for healthy population are recommended i.e. 30 min moderate intensity exercise a minimum of 5 days/wk

  5. May prevent associated chronic disease e.g. Diabetes, CAD

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28 Yarramalong Road

Alison NSW   2259

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