Physical activity is hypothesized to be protective from future depression. However, according to the authors, the potential impact of cardiorespiratory fitness on the development of depression is less clear. In this study, researchers studied whether lower levels of cardiorespiratory fitness were associated with a higher risk for depression onset. Major electronic databases were searched to January 2016 for prospective cohort studies evaluating the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and incident depression.

The data provided preliminary evidence that people with low and medium cardiorespiratory fitness were at increased risk of developing depression. Considered alongside the wider benefits of higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness, the authors suggest that the data support the rationale for interventions specifically targeting fitness, in order to reduce the significant burden associated with depression.


Schuch FB, Vancampfort D, Sui X, Rosenbaum S, Firth J, Richards J, Ward PB, Stubbs B: Are lower levels of cardiorespiratory fitness associated with incident depression? A systematic review of prospective cohort studies. Prev. Med. 93: 159-165 (2016).


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