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mental health

a state of well-being in which the individual:
-realize personal potential
-can cope with normal life stress
-can work productively
-contributes to the community


mental illness

any health condition characterized by alteration in behavior
-alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior (or some combination) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning


mental health versus mental illness

-mental health problems (ex) anxiety, depression) can occur at sub-clinical levels (they occur on a continuum
-a person can have a mental illness (ex) depression, mood disorder) yet strive for mental health
-suggests that when someone has mental illness we shouldn't just suggest treatment options but also the promotion of their mental health


mental illness in canada

-one in five canadians experience a mental illness annually; same rate internationally
-annual costs to canadians: $50 billion dollars
-the burden of mental illness and addictions in ontario is more than 1.5 times the burden of all cancers, and seven times the burden of all infectious diseases


Physical activity and mental health and illness

let's looks at the role of physical activity in:
-preventing mental illness
-treating existing mental illness
-improving quality of life for people with chronic physical or mental health problems
-improving the mental health of general public


physical activity and depression

-cross sectional: support that physically active people also report less depression
-prospective cohort studies: suggest activity levels predict lower depression in the future
-3479 elderly NY residents were followed for 3 years
-most active quartile had lowest odds of depression, followed y second most active quartile
-walking-sport participants and gardeners showed lowest levels of depression
-cohort is more powerful


physical activity and mental health: prevention

-review of 30 prospective cohort studies
-25/30= significant neg association between PA and depression
-most studies were high methodological quality
-no clear evidence for a doze response relationship; any level of PA is associated with lower likeihood of future depression
-promising evidence that any level of PA, including low levels Ex) walking 150 minutes/week can prevent future depression



-could it be that physically active people have something else in common that accounts for their low likelihood of developing depression
-when we control for cofounding factors such as disability, body mass index, smoking, alcohol, an socio-economic status, the relationship between PA and decreased depression remains
-some caution: maybe we haven't controlled for all possible cofounds ex) genetic factors
-less convincing evidence for the preventative role of PA for other mental illnesses
-less research has been done; fewer large scale prospective studies


physical activity and the prevention of anxiety

-12796 women and 11195 adult men
-followed for 11 years
-found significant neg associations between leisure time PA levels and anxiety symptoms


PA and dementia

-hamer and chida conducted a review of pa and dementia
-16 studies
-people with the highest level of pa had a 28% lower risk of developing dementia
-45% lower risk of developing alzheimers



is characterized by: sad mood, loss of interest, reduced/excessive sleep; loss of energy, impaired concentration, slowed thoughts, motor activity; low motivation, suicidal thoughts


treatment of mental illness

strongest evidence exists for treatment of clinical depression


treatment of depression

cooney and colleagues: meta analysis of 39 studies (over 2000 people diagnosed with clinical depression)
-randomized clinical trials
-wide variation in the exercise intervention(type;intensity;duration)


results of treatment of depression

-exercise has a moderate effect in reducing depression a compared to control groups
-but effect was much smaller when examined among the 6 methodologically strongest studies
-exercise may be best at decreasing depression when:
-more sessions and mix of aerobic/strength-training activities


take home message of treatment of depression

-exercise is not a better treatment than other traditional treatments for depression; but it is better than nothing


pharamacuticals vs therapy vs PA

-pharamacutical versus PA= helpful, no more helpful than other
-therapy versus PA= as good
exercise better
-side effects of meds
-pa offers health benefits


weaknesses research on pa as a treatment for depression

-depression is often using self-reported scales rather than being diagnosed by a clinical psychologist
-people often know when they are in the control group (not truly blind to what condition they are in)


PA and quality of life among people with chronic physical and mental health problems

-improved quality of life among people with chronic mental/physical health problems helps their ability to cope with their disorder/illness
-research suggests that PA can improve aspects that affect among people with chronic physical/mental health problems including
-people with spinal cord injuries
-people with schizophrenia


spinal cord

-decreased depression following a 9 month PA intervention compared to a wait-list controls
-results faded post intervention



-six months of twice a week exercise led to reduced depression and phyriatic symptoms as compared to


improving mental health of general public

-physical activity can promote mental health-feelings of well-being (happiness; satisfaction; vitality; interest in life)
-when preformed at a relatively comfortable level (below the ventialtory threshold; point where you can talk to someone while exercising), pa leads to a "feel" good effect