A recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that even small amounts of exercise can help protect against depression. The benefits of exercise on depression can be experienced regardless of age or gender.
The study looked at 33,908 Norwegian adults whom were monitored for depression and exercise over a period of 11 years. The research team found that 12% of cases of depression could have been prevented in participants undertook just one hour of physical activity each week. “These findings are exciting because they show that even relatively small amounts of exercise, from one hour per week, can deliver significant protection against depression” according to Samuel Harvey the study’s lead author. In addition, results showed that people who reported doing no exercise at all at baseline had a 44% increased change of developing depression compared to those who were exercising one to two hours a week.
The results of this study reveal a way to modify an individual’s mental health plan as well as public health campaigns to stress the importance of exercise. “If we can find ways to increase the population’s level of physical activity even by a small amount, then this is likely to bring substantial physical and mental health benefits” according to Harvey.