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.