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Exercise and Emotional Health continued...

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index also examined depression and found it too was related to exercise. People who report not having exercised in the past week are almost twice as likely to have been diagnosed with depression as those who claim to have exercised five to six days, the report says.

People who reported exercising daily were more likely to report having been diagnosed with depression than those who exercised three to four days or five to six days in the previous week.

"One cannot say whether regular exercise reduces depression or whether depression reduces exercise," Pelham writes. "However, in the past decade, researchers have conducted experimental and prospective studies that followed depressed people over time. Such studies show exercise can ease feelings of depression and improve mood."

Pelham's report says an intense exercise regimen could be physiologically and psychologically taxing, because physical activity takes up considerable time and energy.

"Exercising without ever giving one's body time to rest may be less ideal than exercising five to six days per week," he writes.

"The findings not only support the notion that exercise may boost well-being, but they also suggest that it is not necessary to exercise every day of the week to reap meaningful physical and psychological benefits," says the report.

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