We know exercising benefits your mental health in addition to your physical well-being, but how much do you need to work out to see those effects?
According to a new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, sweating it out just one hour a week was enough to curb symptoms of depression in a portion of participants.
Researchers from Black Dog Institute, a mental health research organization in Australia, followed nearly 34,000 healthy Norwegian adults over a period of 11 years and found that those who exercised at least an hour a week had a 12 percent success rate of staving off depressive symptoms.
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“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,” lead author Samuel Harvey of Black Dog Institute said in a release. “These findings are exciting because they show that even relatively small amounts of exercise – from one hour per week – can deliver significant protection against depression.
Now, 12 percent doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’re looking to start small, why not hit the gym or yoga studio one hour a week and see how you feel? Or, adopt a rescue dog and commit to taking it on a long, brisk walk one hour a week (in addition to shorter daily ones, of course). You can always build up from there. Anything to fight against succumbing to a sedentary existence.