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Model Behavior: Strutting Could Prevent Depression

Update Date: Oct 15, 2014 06:54 PM EDT

Strutting can banish depression, according to a new study.

Previous studies revealed that moods affect how individuals walk. People are generally slump-shouldered when they're sad and bouncing along if they're happy. However, new research reveals that the way we walk can also affect our moods.

Researchers found that people who were instructed to walk "sadly" with less arm movement and hunched shoulders experienced worse moods than those who were instructed to walk in a happier style.

Previous research also found that depressed people move very differently than happy people.

"It is not surprising that our mood, the way we feel, affects how we walk, but we want to see whether the way we move also affects how we feel," senior Fellow Nikolaus Troje of Queen's University and Canadian Institute for Advanced Research said in a news release.

Participants were asked to walk on a treadmill with a screen that instructed them on engaging in different walking styles.

"They would learn very quickly to walk the way we wanted them to walk," Troje added.

Researchers noted that participants were shown a list of positive and negative words before the walking tasks. They found that participants assigned to walking in a depressed style remembered significantly more negative words.

Researchers said the latest findings suggest that depressed walking styles can actually trigger depression.

The findings were published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry.

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