Middle-aged women with an unfit upper as well as lower body physical fitness could have an increased risk of suffering from anxiety and depression, suggests a new study.
In particular, poor handgrip power and taking longer than usual time to get back on feet from chair were linked to increased symptoms of anxiety or depression, said the authors of the study.
For the study, senior author of the study Eu-Leong Yong from the National University of Singapore and his team examined over 1000 women aged between 45 to 69 years, who went for routine gynaecology checkups at the university. During these checkups, the researchers asked the participants to squeeze a dynamometer in order to measure the upper body fitness via handgrip strength. They measured the lower body fitness via standing balance, gait speed as well as continuous chair stand tests. Moreover, the team also utilized questionnaires in order to evaluate how frequently women felt symptoms linked with depression and anxiety during the last week.
The results of the study showed that altogether, 180 women experienced anxiety or depressive symptoms. Women, who were aged between 45-54 years, had increased changes to have such symptoms.
The study shows an interesting correspondence between the body and mind, indicating that there exists a close association between mental health and physical strength, said Yong.
However, only further studies should help determine if strengthening exercises, which boost physical performance, can really help lower anxiety and depression symptoms, Yong added.