Study Reveals The Heart Benefits Of Exercise In People With Depression And Anxiety

Mental Health News – American researchers assessed the heart benefits of exercise in a study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 71st Annual Scientific Session. They also examined how the benefits of exercise on heart health doubled in patients with depression and anxiety.

The Study

The researchers analyzed the health records of more than 50,000 patients in the Massachusetts General Brigham Biobank database. They found that only over 4,000 patients had experienced major cardiovascular events, including heart attack, chest pain, blocked artery, etc.

The study also assessed patients from the Massachusetts General Hospital, who exercised according to the guidelines set down by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association. According to the primary prevention guidelines, a person must exercise with moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes per week to prevent coronary risks. This is equivalent to 500 “MET-minutes” (one MET-minute being the unit of exercise that represents the amount of energy expended during various activities).

The study further examined patients diagnosed with depression and anxiety. The researchers used brain imaging to understand stress-related neural activity in their brains and how exercise impacts their brain activity. They also assessed their risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and used 500 MET-minutes as a cutoff for the analysis.

The Findings

The results of the study confirmed the cardiovascular benefits of exercise for people at risk of CVD and those living with mental illnesses.

The researchers found that people with cardiovascular history are at a greater risk of coronary events if their exercise schedules did not meet the 500 MET-minutes requirement. Conversely, people who covered at least 500 MET minutes or more per week were at 17% lesser risk of cardiovascular events.

In people diagnosed with depression and anxiety, the study registered high stress-related neural activity in their brains and higher risks of cardiovascular disease. However, it was also observed that regular physical activity had nearly doubled the cardiovascular benefit in people diagnosed with chronic stress-related psychiatric conditions. For them, the heart health benefits of physical activity were mirrored in the 22% CVD risk reduction.

One of the lead researchers, Hadil Zureigat, elaborates, “Our research emphasizes the importance of the stress-related neural mechanisms by which physical activity acts to reduce cardiovascular risk.”

Mental Health, Exercise, And Heart Health Benefits

According to the study, any amount of regular physical activity every day improves brain health and reduces cardiovascular risks. Especially for people suffering from cardiovascular conditions and mental health problems, exercise can help them lead healthier and happier lives.

To Know More You May Relate To

Exercise holds even more heart health benefits for people with stress-related conditions: Study underscores the brain’s role in deriving cardiovascular benefits from physical activity. (2022). ScienceDaily.

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