Increasing the level of physical activity improves the mood of bipolar patients

In adults with bipolar disorder, increasing the level of physical activity can boost mood and energy.

Bipolarity, which is characterized by alternating depressive phases and excitation phases, affects approximately 10 million people in the United States. Ranked as one of the top 10 most costly and disabling diseases by the World Health Organization, it remains largely unknown. But several recent studies have provided some solutions to reduce the symptoms and reduce the time of hospitalization, such as the addition of probiotics in the patient’s diet.

Real time evaluation

American researchers have found that physical activity is an effective way to stimulate mood and perceived energy in adults with bipolar disorder. Their results were published in the journal Jama Psychiatry.

For the study, the researchers followed for two weeks a sample of 242 participants, 150 women and 92 men, aged 15 to 84 with an average age of 48 years. Of these, 54 had bipolar disorder. They recorded, through sensors attached to the wrists of the participants, their physical activities in real time. An assessment of mood and perceived energy levels was also performed four times a day. In the assessment, the participants had to rate their mood level on a scale of 7, ranging from “very happy” to “very sad”, and their energy level from “very tired” to “very energetic”.

Greater improvements in people suffering from bipolar disordesrs

The results showed that, on average, a higher level of activity is associated with an improvement in mood and an increase in perceived energy. Likewise, greater energy has helped to increase the level of physical activity practiced the next time. However, physical activity was inversely correlated with sleep duration: the greater the physical activity, the less the person slept and the longer the sleep time, the less physically active the person was the next day.

If these results were observed in all participants, they were even more marked in those with bipolar disorder. This is explained by the influence of sleep and physical activity on changes in internal psychological states in these individuals.

Change the approach

Researchers have lamented that most current treatments for bipolar mood, sleep, or physical activity are limited to addressing these elements separately regardless of their interrelationships. “This study illustrates the possibility of combining the use of physical activity trackers and electronic devices to better understand the complex dynamics between these different factors,” says Vadim Zipunnikov, the study’s director.

The researchers want to go even further in this search for correlation between different factors to improve the condition of bipolar people. They are currently studying the interactions between physical activity, sleep, pain, stress and alcohol consumption.

Shakes Gilles

Editor of The Talking Democrat. He enjoys bike riding, kayaking and playing soccer. On a slow weekend, you'll find him with a book by the lake.