A landmark study led by the Black Dog Institute has revealed that regular exercise of any intensity can prevent future depression. Exercise: Study recommends exercise as therapy to depression. The finding which was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, show that even small amounts of exercise can protect against depression, with mental health benefits seen regardless of age or gender.
In the largest and most extensive study of its kind, the analysis involved 33,908 Norwegian adults who had their levels of exercise and symptoms of depression and anxiety monitored over 11 years. The international research team found that 12 percent of cases of depression could have been prevented if participants undertook just one hour of physical activity each week.
“We’ve known for some time that exercise has a role to play in treating symptoms of depression, but this is the first time we have been able to quantify the preventative potential of physical activity in terms of reducing future levels of depression,” said lead author, Associate Professor, Samuel Harvey from Black Dog Institute.
“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. “We are trying to determine exactly why exercise can have this protective effect, but we believe it is from the combined impact of the various physical and social benefits of physical activity.