Reprint from The Conversation

It’s that time of the year again. The festive season is over and we are left with the prospect of months of darkness and nothing to celebrate. So what can you do to avoid feeling down? Our study, recently published in Psychiatry Research, followed almost 200,000 long-distance skiers for up to two decades, and we found that skiers are 50% less likely to develop depression than the general population.

So what’s their secret? And can you benefit from the results without actually taking up skiing?

In 1922, a 90km race was arranged for the first time in Sweden. The world’s largest long-distance ski race was born and named “Vasaloppet” after a former Swedish king, Gustav Vasa. In Sweden, we have a penchant for setting up registries. Since 1989, it has been possible to track all Swedes participating in the race. Together with Swedish patient and population registries, it’s a goldmine for exercise research.


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