The longitudinal effect of leisure time physical activity on reduced depressive symptoms: The ARIRANG Study

Hoon Jo, Jinhee Lee, Solam Lee, Hunju Lee, Yeon Soon Ahn, Sang Baek Koh

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Depression is a serious mental condition and physical activity is known to be effective in alleviating it. This study for rural residents of South Korea investigated whether meeting the recommended amount of physical activity during leisure time (LTPA) can reduce the depressive symptoms. Methods: A prospective study was conducted with 5,178 participants aged 20 years and over, and we analyzed 1,888 participants excluding those diagnosed with depression at baseline and those with insufficient data after an average of 5.3 years of follow-up. LTPA was quantified by the MET (metabolic equivalent of task) and categorized according to whether the recommended physical activity was met (0, 0.1 to < 7.5, ≥ 7.5 MET h/wk). The relationship with depressive symptoms (CES-D ≥ 41) was generated by adjusted relative risks (RRs) and 95% CIs through multivariate logistic regression. Results: During the followed-up, 100 (5.3%) participants developed depressive symptoms. Compared to the incidence of depressive symptoms in those who did not perform any LTPA (6.8%), it was significantly lower when the recommended physical activity criteria were met by combining moderate intensity (MET 3 to 6) and vigorous intensity (MET ≥ 6) exercise (3.3%). We observed a 43.7% lower risk of depressive symptoms among those performing more than the recommended minimum (RR, 0.563 [95% CI, 0.341–0.930]) than those who had no LTPA. Limitations: This study did not address psychosocial factors, and physical activities in daily life and the occupational environment were not considered. Conclusions: Performing adequate LTPA might be advisable to alleviate depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1220-1225
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of affective disorders
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was carried out with the support of the “Cooperative Research Program for Agriculture Science & Technology Development (Project No. PJ01250901)” and the Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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