Highlights Regular exercise of any intensity can prevent the risk of depression. A minimum of one hour of regular exercise every week can prevent 12% of depression cases. Even a small change in lifestyle habits have an influence on the mental health. Exercising regularly can prevent future depression - and just one hour can help. Even small amounts of exercise can protect against depression, with mental health benefits seen regardless of age or gender. One Hour Of Exercise Every Week Can Reduce Risk Of Depression Can Exercise Prevent Depression? ‘One hour of regular physical activity can reduce depression by 44% compared to no exercise at all.’ 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 percent of cases of depression could have been prevented if participants undertook just one hour of physical activity each week. "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," said lead author Associate Professor Samuel Harvey from Black Dog Institute and UNSW. These findings show that even relatively small amounts of exercise - from one hour per week - can deliver significant protection against depression. "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." Previous Evidence on Exercise Researchers used data from the Health Study of Nord-Trndelag County (HUNT study) - one of the largest and most comprehensive population-based health surveys ever undertaken - which was conducted between January 1984 and June 1997. A healthy cohort of participants was asked at baseline to report the frequency of exercise they participated in and at what intensity: without becoming breathless or sweating, becoming breathless and sweating, or exhausting themselves. At follow-up stage, they completed a self-report questionnaire (the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) to indicate any emerging anxiety or depression. The research team also accounted for variables which might impact the association between exercise and common mental illness. These include socio-economic and demographic factors, substance use, body mass index, new onset physical illness and perceived social support. Results showed that people who reported doing no exercise at all at baseline had a 44% increased chance of developing depression compared to those who were exercising one to two hours a week. However, these benefits did not carry through to protecting against anxiety, with no association identified between level and intensity of exercise and the chances of developing the disorder. "Most of the mental health benefits of exercise are realized within the first hour undertaken each week," said Associate Professor Harvey. "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." Reference Samuel Harvey et al., Exercise and the Prevention of Depression: Results of the HUNT Cohort Study, American Journal of Psychiatry (2017), doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.16111223.Source: Medindia << New Device Uses Light and Ultrasound to See the Heart Better New Test can identify Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Thirt... >> Recommended Reading Depression Symptom Evaluation Depression occurs due to alterations in the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. READ MORE Depression Depression is one of the most common mental disorders affecting approximately 340 million people in the world. No one is immune from depression - it occurs in people of all social classes, all countries and all cultural settings. READ MORE How to Handle Depression and Stress while Going Through a Divorce? Divorce or breakup can be stressful and cause anxiety, depression and panic. Simple ways can help you deal with depression triggered by loss of marriage. 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