Exercise more to fight depression, researchers tell Hongkongers, as 11.8pc say they are sufferers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 January, 2015, 5:18pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 January, 2015, 12:38pm

To combat depression, Hongkongers should exercise more, researchers say, after 11.8 per cent of respondents to a study said they had suffered from the condition lately.

The Mental Health Association of Hong Kong and City University analysed 1,969 patient questionnaires from across the city, all completed on October 12. Some 8.6 per cent said they had felt moderate depression in the previous two weeks, while 3.2 per cent said they had felt severe depression during the same period.

The overall figure of 11.8 per cent who reported feeling depressed represents a 0.5 per cent increase on the results of the same survey conducted in 2012.

The study also found that 7.6 per cent of those surveyed had thoughts of suicide in the two weeks prior to the study.

The number of people suffering from moderate to severe depression has risen slightly, "but it's not a significant change", said Stephen Sun Yu-kit, a lecturer from the School of Continuing and Professional Education at City University, who led the study. "But still, Hongkongers should be more aware of depression," Sun said.

The study found that more than 34 per cent of those surveyed never did aerobic exercise and only 32 per cent said they did 30 minutes of aerobic exercise more than three times a week.

"Aerobic exercise can be very helpful to reduce depression. People have the misconception that exercise can make them feel tired. But actually the opposite is true. Exercise can reduce fatigue and energise people," Sun said.

The Mental Health Association provides a 24-hour hotline for mental health support and organises free training sessions about mental health issues. Call 2528 0196 or 2772 0047 for more information.