The largest ever study of its kind finds that just one hour of exercise per week can significantly reduce the chance of suffering symptoms of depression. And the exercise doesn’t need to be intense!

More than 30,000 Norweigian adults were monitored for levels of exercise and symptoms of depression and anxiety. The study’s lead author, Associate Professor Samuel Harvey 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.”

Those who did not exercise were 44% more likely to suffer with depression.

Doctors and health practitioners, according to the findings, need to include one hour of weekly exercise in mental health treatment plans.

Professor Harvey said: “Most of the mental health benefits of exercise are realized within the first hour undertaken each week.”

“With sedentary lifestyles becoming the norm worldwide, and rates of depression growing, these results are particularly pertinent as they highlight that even small lifestyle changes can reap significant mental health benefits.”

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