Depression, exercise and gender: Is there a connection between all three? |

Depression, exercise and gender: Is there a connection between all three?

Wes Irwin

About the author

Wes Irwin, MD, MS, is founder and medical director at Tahoe Ketamine. With over 15 years of experience in the operating room, Dr. Irwin brings years of clinical experience to the Lake Tahoe area. He is currently on staff at Barton Memorial Hospital, Carson Valley Medical Center, Lake Tahoe Surgery Center and St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. He completed his residency in anesthesiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Inspired by the possibility of helping the thousands of individuals suffering in the Lake Tahoe and surrounding areas, Dr. Irwin established Tahoe Ketamine in 2019.

For years, scientists and researchers have known that depression symptoms can be alleviated with proper sleep and exercise, but a new study by University of Michigan states that those two factors could potentially impact women and men differently.

Weiyun Chen, a professor of kinesiology, studied the exercise and sleep patterns of 1,000 students at Beijing University.

Chen found that while men who did vigorous exercise were more protected against depressive symptoms, the women who took part in exercise saw no change in their depressive symptoms.

Initially, this finding went against most other studies that found exercise helps with depression, regardless of sex. However, upon closer look, the research found that women did not partake in the same high intensity exercise as the men did.

Chen also examined sleep patterns and found that poor quality sleep was associated with depression in both genders. Most of the students reported they got good quality sleep each night, but 16% of males and 22% of females reported poor sleep quality.

In Chen’s study, the fact that male students exercised at a higher intensity than female students may be the reason why there was such a shocking difference in the results between the two genders. But the intensity of the exercise may also have impacted sleep quality, which consequently would have negatively impacted more women.

The takeaway here is that exercise and sleep do affect the manifestation of depressive symptoms — for both genders — and seeking treatment from a professional is always the best way to evaluate, though studies show that only 50% of people receive treatment.

Ongoing research is still examining the fact that higher rates of depression are found amongst women, with approximately a 2:1 rate for diagnosis, but suicide rates are three to five times higher among men.

Regardless of how much you exercise, how well you sleep or what your gender is, if you are struggling with depression there is hope. Don’t be one of the 50% of patients who never seeks treatment. Talk to your primary care physician about the options that are available to you.

If you have been suffering from depression, but no treatment has brought relief, ask us about ketamine for depression. Ketamine is 70% effective for the treatment of depression and anxiety, and works rapidly to alleviate symptoms — oftentimes within one to two hours of your first infusion.

Request a free consultation with Tahoe Ketamine today to learn more about ketamine and find out if you are a candidate.

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