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Associations of exercise frequency and cardiorespiratory fitness with symptoms of depression and anxiety - a cross-sectional study of 36,595 adults

Hallgren, M; Kandola, A; Stubbs, B; Nguyen, TTD; Wallin, P; Andersson, G; Ekblom-Bak, E; (2020) Associations of exercise frequency and cardiorespiratory fitness with symptoms of depression and anxiety - a cross-sectional study of 36,595 adults. Mental Health and Physical Activity , 19 , Article 100351. 10.1016/j.mhpa.2020.100351. Green open access

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Abstract

Introduction: Regular exercise has been associated with better mental health, but relationships of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) with mental health symptoms are less certain. We conducted a large cross-sectional study to examine associations of exercise frequency and objectively measured CRF with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Methods: Data originates from the Swedish Health Profile Assessment (HPA) database, a general health assessment offered to all employees working for companies or organizations connected to occupational and health services. Participants reported the frequency (last 30 days) of structured exercise and completed a 6-min VO2max test on a cycle ergometer to determine CRF. Data on relevant covariates including leisure-time sedentary behavior were also collected. The study outcome was self-reported frequent (often/very often) symptoms of depression and anxiety. Results: Complete data from 36,595 participants were analyzed (41% female, mean age = 42 years). In fully-adjusted models, compared to those in the lowest exercise frequency category (never/sometimes), those exercising 1–2 times/week and ≥3 times/week had 0.75 (95% CI = 0.68–0.82) and 0.72 (95% CI = 0.65–0.79) lower odds of reporting frequent symptoms of depression/anxiety, respectively. For CRF, crude models indicated a dose-response with the odds of frequent depression/anxiety symptoms reducing with higher CRF levels (low versus medium and high, respectively). No associations were found after adjustment for leisure-time sedentary behavior. Conclusions: Exercising at least 1–2 times per week is associated with lower odds of depression/anxiety symptoms. Leisure-time sedentary behavior attenuates relationships of CRF with depression/anxiety symptoms.

Type: Article
Title: Associations of exercise frequency and cardiorespiratory fitness with symptoms of depression and anxiety - a cross-sectional study of 36,595 adults
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.mhpa.2020.100351
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mhpa.2020.100351
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Exercise, Cardiorespiratory fitness, Physical activity, Depression, Anxiety
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10145929
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