New research reveals it doesn’t take a lot of exercise to lower the risk for depression. We know working out is good for our mental and physical health and according to the CDC, we should be getting 2.5 hours a week of moderate activity or 1.25 hours a week of vigorous aerobic activity. All that movement improves sleep, lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of multiple diseases, as well as stress, anxiety and depression, but a new study finds it doesn’t actually take that much physical activity to help ward off depression.
That’s good news because in today’s busy world, some people find it challenging to make time for working out, and when you add depression to the mix, they may be even less motivated to get moving. So a meta-analysis looked at 15 previous studies to determine just how much exercise is needed to reduce depression. Their research shows:
- Adults who do activities equivalent to an hour and 15 minutes of brisk walking a week have a 18% lower risk of depression compared to those who don’t exercise.
- And getting two and a half hours a week of activity similar to brisk walking is linked to 25% lower risk of depression.
- And it turns out, the biggest benefits happen when someone goes from being a couch potato to doing at least some activity.
- But exercising over the recommended levels didn’t provide any extra benefits.
- Study authors say their findings can help health practitioners making lifestyle recommendations, “especially to inactive individuals who may perceive the current recommendation target of exercise as unrealistic.”