ZocdocAnswersDoes physical activity help reduce teen depression?

Question

Does physical activity help reduce teen depression?

Will encouraging my teenager to take part in physical activities help reduce his likelihood of becoming depressed by life?

Answer

Depression is a common medical condition that affects many people worldwide, including many teenagers. In addition, there are numerous times in everyone's life where they feel blue. The relationship between depression and physical activity is not completely understood. If you are concerned regarding your teenager's mental health, I would recommend discussing this with his or her pediatrician. There are many options to address this, including physical activity. The relationship between depression and physical activity is unclear. We do know that in classic major depressive episodes, patients often have decreased energy and decreased movement -- known as psychomotor retardation. These are the people who sleep all day and don't want to get out of bed. However, it is unclear if one's physical activity level can cause or prevent depression. Major depressive disorder is caused by a combination of hereditary, chemical and life factors. We know that a good social situation can avoid depressive feelings. As such, physical activity is a great option. Exercising releases endorphins which make people feel good. In addition, the social interaction of team sports can be very helpful in a teenagers social development. Also maintaining a healthy weight can be important for social and mental health. Encouraging physical activity is certainly recommended, although its exact effect on depression is unclear. Talk to your child's pediatrician for more information.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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