Popular podcaster Joe Rogan has shared an Australian university study, praising it for its insights into how people can beat depression.
In episode 1949 of his show, which went live in March this year, Rogan was joined by comedian and fellow podcaster Russell Brand to chat about fitness and physical health.
In one segment, Rogan read out a report from the University of South Australia, which found that exercise was more effective than medication and counselling for tackling depression.
The study, which was published in February, found that physical activity was 1.5 times more effective than counselling or leading medications.
The university describes the finding as “the most comprehensive review (on the topic) to date”, having analysed the results from 97 studies, 1039 trials and 128,000 participants.
Praising the study, Rogan said: “Of course it is. I don’t want to say the cause of anyone else’s depression because there’s no way I can know.
“But probably a lot of people are depressed because they aren’t moving. I really think it’s a physical requirement.
“There are some universal requirements [for the human body] and movement is one of them.
“If you can move, if you are privileged enough — you’re not injured, you’re not disabled, and you can move — God I really think you should move.
“Just walk around the block. Just f***ing do something.”
Importantly, the study did not attempt to analyse the cause of participants’ depression. It found the most significant benefits of physical activity were seen among people with depression, pregnant and post-partum women, healthy individuals and people diagnosed with HIV or kidney disease.
Ben Singh, who led the study, urged for physical activity to be prioritised in order to manage the growing number of patients with mental health conditions.
“Physical activity is known to help improve mental health. Yet despite the evidence, it has not been widely adopted as a first-choice treatment,” he said in a statement provided to news.com.au.
“Our review shows that physical activity interventions can significantly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in all clinical populations, with some groups showing even greater signs of improvement.”
Dr Singh said “higher intensity exercise” had greater improvements for depression and anxiety, and longer durations had smaller effects when compared to short and mid-duration bursts.
“We also found that all types of physical activity and exercise were beneficial, including aerobic exercise such as walking, resistance training, pilates, and yoga,” he added.
“Importantly, the research shows that it doesn’t take much for exercise to make a positive change to your mental health.”