More Sedentary Time Linked to Greater Risk of Depression

AN EXTENSIVE research review has confirmed what you may have noticed anecdotally: the more time someone spends being sedentary, the greater their risk for depression.

The research, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, analysed results from 24 studies with a total of more than 193,000 participants. The results unequivocally showed that people with the highest levels of frequent sedentary activity were significantly more likely to be depressed than those with lower levels of sedentary activity.

The research review looked not only at overall sedentary time, but also at two of the most common sedentary behaviours, watching television and using a computer/being online. The same link between greater sedentary time and greater risk for depression was found for watching TV and being online as for general sedentary time.

The research backs in a general sense what has been shown about acute incidents of being sedentary. For example, a well-publicised study earlier this year found that people’s moods deteriorated over the course of a Facebook session.

We reported earlier this year on a study of marathoners that found that, when not running, the participants sat an average of almost 12 hours a day. Being what some researchers have called an “active couch potato” has been examined mostly in the context of its negative effects on cardiovascular and metabolic health. The new research on sedentary behaviour and depression suggests your mental health will also benefit if you stay active between runs.

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