- Exercise can help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and even improve brain health.
- Evidence is growing that it can also alleviate the symptoms of depression, the leading cause of mental health-related disease.
- However, advice varies about how much exercise is needed for a beneficial effect.
- Now, a 10-year study in Ireland has found that even small amounts of exercise, such as a 20-minute walk most days, can help reduce the risk of depression in older adults.
Depression — a chronic feeling of emptiness, sadness, or inability to feel pleasure — is one of the most common mental health conditions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it affects around
In the United States, in 2020,
In the United Kingdom, government statistics show that one in six people experienced depressive symptoms in 2021–2022.
Treatments for depression depend on the type of depression a person is experiencing but may include antidepressants, psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or a combination of therapy and medication. They are effective for many people, but depression
There is increasing evidence that lifestyle changes can reduce depressive symptoms. A 2014 analysis of 21 studies found that a diet high in fruit, vegetables, fish, and whole grains may be associated with a reduced depression risk. And a
However, few studies have looked at how much exercise is needed to have a positive impact on depression.
Now, a 10-year study has found