Just an Hour of Exercise a Week Could Help Prevent Depression
The health benefits of exercise are well-known and well-touted. Now, results of a groundbreaking study suggest just an hour of exercise per week – of any intensity – can help prevent depression. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and recently published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
For their analysis, the largest and most extensive study of its kind, researchers used information from the Health Study of Nord-Trøndelag County (HUNT study) involving 33,908 Norwegian adults. They monitored study participants’ exercise levels and depression symptoms for more than 11 years and discovered that 12 percent of depression cases of depression could have been prevented by just one hour of physical activity each week.
Researchers accounted for other factors that could impact the connection between exercise and depression risk, such as socio-economic and demographic differences, substance use, body mass index (BMI), new medical diagnoses, and social support. According to researchers, study participants who reported no physical activity at all at baseline had a 44 percent higher risk of depression than those who reported exercising one or two hours per week.