UL study finds exercise may decrease risk of depression in diabetics

The main building at the University of Limerick.

PHYSICAL activity can help protect against depression in those living with diabetics, a new University of Limerick (UL) study has found.

The study, conducted by researchers at UL and Trinity College Dublin, found that the equivalent of 30 minutes of exercise five days a week was linked with less risk of major depression among diabetics.

The study, funded by Ireland’s Health Research Board, has recently been published in the prestigious journal ‘Psychiatry Research‘.

More than 500 million adults worldwide are estimated to be living with type 2 diabetes, which is a leading cause of mortality, disability, and decreased quality of life.

Those living with type 2 diabetes have a much higher chance of depression compared to the general population, with at least one in four diabetics suffering from depression.

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Author of the research, Dr Eamon Laird, lifestyle health researcher at University Limerick’s Physical Education and Sport Sciences (PESS) Department, said: “Depression in diabetics has been
linked with increased risk of adverse health outcomes, including higher mortality rates and poorer diabetes control, which in turn can increase the risk of diabetes-related complications, including neuropathy, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputation.”

“Identifying potentially easy and low-cost health and lifestyle
solutions that could reduce the risk of depression remains a top

“Physical activity at doses that match current World Health Organization recommendations for overall health may offer protection against major depression – at minimum, try to engage in 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity activity at least five days per week, with more benefits seen at higher doses,” he concluded.