Lack of physical fitness linked with depression, anxiety: study

Lack of physical fitness linked with depression, anxiety: study

PanARMENIAN.Net - Mid-life women with weak upper and lower body fitness may be more prone to depression and anxiety, a study from Singapore suggests.

In particular, poor handgrip strength and needing a long time to stand from a chair were associated with higher depression or anxiety symptoms, the study authors reported in the journal Menopause.

"Mid-life women globally are in an incredibly difficult position: sandwiched between children, ageing parents, husband and work commitments," said senior study author Yong Eu-Leong of the National University of Singapore.

"They sacrifice themselves in face of all these demands, and sometimes neglect their own needs," he told Reuters Health by email. "Anxiety and depression may go unrecognised."

Yong and his colleagues studied more than 1,100 women, aged 45 to 69, who had routine gynaecology appointments at the National University Hospital in Singapore.

During the appointments, the researchers measured upper body physical performance as reflected by handgrip strength, which requires the women to squeeze a hand-held dynamometer as hard as they could.

The researchers measured lower body physical performance through gait speed, standing balance, and a repeated chair stand test, which records the time it takes to stand up from a seated position five times without using the arms.

The research team used internationally-accepted questionnaires to assess whether and how often women experienced symptoms associated with anxiety and depression during the past week, including sadness, uncontrollable worrying, loss of interest, fatigue, sleep problems and poor appetite.

Overall, 180 women, or about 16 per cent, had depressive or anxiety symptoms. Women ages 45 to 54 were more likely to report symptoms.

Symptoms were not linked with menopause status, sociodemographic characteristics or lifestyle variables such as smoking or alcohol consumption.

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