Maintaining healthy habits such as exercising regularly and avoiding too much alcohol not only help you look good, but such habits might also stave off depression.
A study of more than 1,100 adults found that those who reported excessive alcohol use (an average of three or more drinks daily) at the beginning of the study were more likely to suffer from depression six years later, as were those who were overweight at the beginning of the study. And those who reported exercising for more than 30 minutes daily at the beginning of the study period were less likely to be depressed six years later.
The study's authors suggested not only that "physical exercise may be an effective element in the treatment of depression but that the maintenance of regular physical exercise over a relatively long period of time may protect against" developing depression. They suggested schools and workplaces adopt policies to make following healthy habits easier, such as offering only low-fat, high-fiber meals in cafeterias.
[From: "Associations Between Lifestyle and Depressed Mood: Longitudinal Results From the Maastricht Aging Study." Contact: Coen H. van Gool, Department of Health Care Studies, Section of Medical Sociology, Universiteit Maastricht.]
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