Exercise and mental health

Linda ErnstsenThis week I was really happy when I got the message that I was given the opportunity of presenting my research findings as a moderated poster at the Norwegian Research Councils conference in mental health and drug research in Tromsø (Norway). In practical terms this means that I was given eight minutes to present our preliminary findings from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study in front of the audience.

Our results suggest that being physical inactive and depressed increases mortality risk with 50% in populations with and without established ischemic heart disease.

However, we have to work more on the analyses before we are ready to publish the paper. The majority of participants on this conference are psychiatrists and psychologists which means that there traditionally are few researchers presenting results on the association between physical activity and mental health. But I did get some positive comments on my presentation, and one of the participants told me that she would tell her father (who just recently had experienced a myocardial infarction) about our poster. Thus I am convinced that it was important that I was present at this conference.

If we want to expand the existing treatment regime in mental health to include exercise as medicine it is necessary to provide strong and new evidence based knowledge within this research field. I have tried to illustrate this point trough the picture. If you take an extra look you might see that our poster is strong enough to carry the weight of the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø. That is a promising start.

Linda Ernstsen, Post Doctor at CERG


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