Exercise and depression in midlife: a prospective study

Am J Public Health. 1997 Apr;87(4):670-3. doi: 10.2105/ajph.87.4.670.


Objectives: This study examined the relationship of self-reported physical activity with subsequent depression and psychiatric distress.

Methods: Physical activity was assessed in medical school and midlife in 973 physicians as part of a prospective observational study. Outcome measures were the incidence of self-reported clinical depression and psychiatric distress on the General Health Questionnaire.

Results: The risk of depression was similar for nonexercisers and exercisers. No relationship was observed between physical activity level and subsequent psychiatric distress.

Conclusions: This study found no evidence that exercise reduces risk for depression or psychiatric distress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires