Exercising for as little as one hour a week helps protect against depression, according to one of the world’s largest health studies.
Recent results from the HUNT cohort longitudinal study of over 33,000 Norwegian adults show 12 per cent of cases of depression might have been prevented if participants undertook just one hour of physical activity each week.
Exercise is known to be helpful in treating the symptoms of depression but its role in preventing future depression hadn’t been measured till now, lead author Samuel Harvey says.
“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,” Dr Harvey says.
Study participants who reported doing no exercise at all had a 44 per cent increased chance of developing depression compared with those who exercised one to two hours a week.
American Journal of Psychiatry, November 2017 and Black Dog Institute