Latayne’s Corner: Stopping Exercise and Depression

Stopping Exercise and Depression

by Latayne C. Scott, PhD

Many, many studies show that a good way to combat depression is physical exercise. The results are immediate – that feeling of well-being and accomplishment; and later the satisfaction of a toned body, endurance, and better sleep.

However, up until recently, no one had researched what happens when regular exercisers stop their workouts.

After all, what can it hurt to take a break for a few days?

In one study, just three days of laying out of exercise was followed by an increase in the symptoms of depression of the slackards. In another study, it took longer for some people – but as soon as one or two weeks.

A researcher at the University of Adelaide looked at studies involving 152 adults. For at least three months, each of them had worked out for at least 30 minutes, three times a week. This researcher, Julie A. Morgan, found that not only did depression increase when people stopped exercising, but the effects were more pronounced in women than in men.

Is there a provable cause and effect between stopping exercise and depression? Not enough study has been done to say definitely, one of the study’s other researchers says.

"For now, it is important that people understand the potential impact on their mental well-being when they suddenly cease regular exercise," he said.

So, does this motivate you to not miss a workout? What other motivations keep you on track with exercising?

This article also appeared on, where Dr. Scott blogs with Dr. Beth Robinson. The two are authors of the upcoming book, Protecting Your Child From Predators: How to Recognize and Respond to Sexual Danger (Bethany, 2019.)

About the Author

Latayne C. Scott is the author of over 2 dozen published books and hundreds of magazine articles. Her latest books are A Conspiracy of Breath (TSU Press, 2017), The Parables of Jesus (TSU Press, 2017), and as a contributor to Leaving Mormonism: Why Four Scholars Changed Their Minds (Kregel, 2017.)

Connect with Latayne at her blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

You can read Latayne’s column on the 4th Friday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.

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