According to a brand new data analysis, exercise, even in the smallest of doses, plays a significant role in combating depression!
That’s right! If you aren’t a big fan of strenuous workouts but want to improve your mental health, the good news is that you do not really have to do anything too extreme!
A new study seems to prove that even small amounts of exercise such as walking can contribute a lot to lowering your risk of depression!
The authors write that “Most benefits are realized when moving from no activity to at least some.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a minimum of 2.5 hours of brisk walking per week along with a full-body workout twice per week.
An alternative is running for 1.25 hours every week and doing the same amount of strength training.
The CDC also informs us that moderate to vigorous exercise can do wonders for our sleep, can lower blood pressure, lowers the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, boosts one’s overall mood, reduces stress and it’s great at fending off anxiety and depression.
That’s all in theory however, since in today’s busy society it can be difficult to find the time and energy to go to the gym or even for a jog.
Furthermore, if you also add depression into the equation, it can be even harder to find enough motivation for moderate to vigorous exercise.
But the good news is that the meta-analysis published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal earlier this week, proves every little bit of exercise helps a lot!
The research looked into 15 other studies involving more than 190,000 people in order to find out how much exercise is actually needed in order to reduce depression.
What they found was that adults who did 1.25 hours of brisk walking every week lowered their risk of depression by 18 percent when compared to those who simply did not exercise.
The study’s authors go on to mention that moving up to an “activity volume equivalent to 2 and a half hours of quick walking per week was associated with 25 percent lower risk of depression.”
Adam Chekroud, from Yale University, stressed that “Even just walking just three times a week seems to give people better mental health than not exercising at all.”
The research determined that most of the benefits came when first transitioning from being completely sedentary to adding some movement every day.
With that being said, exercising over the levels recommended did not come with any additional benefits so you can breathe a sigh of relief that there is no need to force yourself to work out too much to improve mental health.
The authors explained that “Our findings therefore have important new implications for health practitioners making lifestyle recommendations, especially to inactive individuals who may perceive the current recommended target (of exercise) as unrealistic.”