Regular exercise of any intensity can prevent future depression
A landmark study led by the Black Dog Institute has revealed that regular exercise of any intensity can prevent future depression and just one hour can help.
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% of cases of depression could have been prevented if participants undertook just one hour of physical activity each week.
Lead author Associate Professor Samuel Harvey, from Black Dog Institute and UNSW said “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. 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.”
The findings follow the Black Dog Institute’s recent Exercise Your Mood campaign, which ran throughout September and encouraged Australians to improve their physical and mental wellbeing through exercise.