Researchers at the Black Dog Institute in Sydney, Australia have revealed that regular exercise of any intensity can prevent future depression which currently affects about 350 million people worldwide.
They published their findings in the American Journal of Psychiatry, and holds the record of being the largest and most extensive study of its kind, involved 33, 908 Norwegian adults who had their levels of exercise and symptoms of depression and anxiety monitored over 11 years.
The research team discovered that 12% of cases of depression could have been prevented if participants undertook just one hour of physical activity each week.
Lead Author and Associate Professor Samuel Harvey said ‘’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 still 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.
“These results highlight the great potential to integrate exercise into individual mental health plans and broader public health campaigns. 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.”