Depression, Exercise and Bone Health. How to manage all three in 60 minutes a week.

Bear with me, This is amazing information directly related to what we all care about. Happiness and bone health. The answer is in the article but I’m telling you that you won’t believe it. That’s why I want you to read the article in full.

We all experience sadness from time to time.

It’s our ‘go-to’ response to a difficult situation, and luckily it often passes as the perception of a grievance dissipates.
Depression, however, is its nasty big brother. It’s a condition that brings on feelings of hopelessness and despair, even the thought life isn’t worth living. Emotional ramifications can be devastating.

I know. I’ve been there.

What about the Physical Aspect of Depression? ..The what?

Physical effects of depression are often significant yet sometimes not mentally connected with depression. They may even mimic serious illnesses. Ranging from chronic aches and pains to gastrointestinal problems, depression brings to our awareness the relationship between our physical and mental health. We now know that depression can be a risk factor for low bone mineral density and fractures.

Let’s review some of those studies as well as a brand new landmark study that proves as little as a one-hour session of low-intensity exercise can make a huge improvement.

Depression And Bone Loss

This isn’t a one-study wonder blog post.
Several studies connect depression to increased incidence of bone loss.
One study shows us that those suffering from depression have significantly lower bone mineral density (BMD) results.
Depression, they found, causes bone loss through the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system connecting the brain to the skeleton.
Noradrenaline, also called norepinephrine, is secreted by the adrenal glands and the brain. It’s like cortisol; this neurotransmitter and hormone reaches high levels in dangerous or stressful situations and causes anxiety and restlessness, among other things.

Finland Study

A 2014 Finnish stud followed 1,147 postmenopausal women over ten years. It revealed an average 52% higher bone density in women who reported feeling satisfied with their lives versus those who reported feeling unsatisfied.

While bone density decreased by 4% in all women over the decade, those whose sense of well-being had deteriorated showed an 85% decline in bone mineral density compared to those whose spirits had improved.

Why not Medication? Antidepressants for instance?

Like all medications, antidepressants have side effects, including nausea, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, diarrhoea, anxiety, and dry mouth, just to name a few. Psychiatric drugs are also known to deplete crucial nutrients, both for overall health and bone health. A major class of medications prescribed for depression includes selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and Celexa are examples of these drugs that work by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain, thus increasing its availability.

SSRIs do impact brain function, but they also affect the digestive tract. As 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is found in the gut, SSRIs influence the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. One of the most common side effects of SSRI medications is digestive upset. Science has shown that when the gut is out of balance, it is unable to function optimally.

Antidepressants have been commonly found to deplete key nutrients, such as coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant that also plays a crucial role in the production of energy. Antidepressants have also been shown to have the same impact on magnesium, other essential B vitamins, as well as a plethora of other vital nutrients.

What’s more, these studies show that prescription drugs to treat depression cause an increase in bone loss. For example, in a large cohort, elderly women on SSRIs experienced greater bone loss at the hip. Additionally, medications such as SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) can cause fractures by increasing the risk of falls, especially in the elderly population. SSRIs and TCAs cause arrhythmias and postural hypotension, both of which can lead to dizziness and loss of balance. One extensive study substantiated these claims, showing that patients taking either SSRIs or TCAs were at increased risk of hip fractures.

So.. what to do?
One Hour A Week Of Exercise Protects Against Depression

A recently-published study has shown that even a small amount of light exercise can ward off the symptoms of depression.
Researchers working with the Black Dog Institute in Australia conducted a massive in-depth analysis of 33,908 Norwegian male and female adults who had their levels of exercise and symptoms of depression and anxiety monitored over a period of 11 years.

Healthy subjects were asked to report how often they exercised, and the intensity, ranging from without becoming breathless or sweating, becoming breathless and sweating, and exhausting themselves. They then filled out self-assessment questionnaires with questions related to anxiety and depression.

What if I told you that one hour of exercise per week could make you 44% more likely to have a good day? Read on… and believe.

Study findings were impressive – to say the least –
revealing that those who reported doing no exercise at baseline experienced a 44 percent increased the chance of developing depression, compared to those who were exercising only 1-2 hours per week. Interestingly, the researchers also discovered that individuals did not have to become breathless, sweaty, or exhausted to reap the rewards from exercise.

The findings are so exciting because they suggest that even a small amount of exercise each week can deliver significant protective effects against depression. As our society has become more sedentary, and levels of depression continue to climb, this study illustrates that even minor lifestyle adjustments can ward off mental health problems.

1Greenberg PE, Fournier AA, Sisitsky T, Pike CT, Kessler RC. The economic burden of adults with a major depressive disorder in the United States (2005 and 2010). J Clin Psychiatry. 2015 Feb;76(2):155-62.
2American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
3Sapolsky RM. Depression, antidepressants, and the shrinking hippocampus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2001;98(22):12320-12322. doi:10.1073/pnas.231475998. Web:
4Bab IA, Yirmiya R. Depression and bone mass. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Mar;1192:170-5. Web:
5Rauma, PH, Koivumaa-Honkanen H, Williams LJ, Tuppurainen MT, Kroger HP, Honkanen RJ. Life satisfaction and bone mineral density among postmenopausal women: cross-sectional and longitudinal associations. Psychosom Med. 2014 Nov-Dec;76(9):709-15. Web:
6Diem SJ, et al. Use of antidepressants and rates of hip bone loss in older women: the study of osteoporotic fractures. Arch Intern Med. 2007. 167:1240–1245.
7Hubbard R, et al. Exposure to tricyclic and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants and the risk of hip fracture. Am J Epidemiol. 2003;158:77–84.
8Harvey SB, et al. Exercise and the Prevention of Depression: Results of the HUNT Cohort Study. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 2017. Web:


Facebook Comments