About 12 percent cases of depression could have been prevented if participants undertook just one hour of physical activity each week, a recent research has revealed.
The result of the study which was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry revealed that small amounts of exercise can protect against depression, with mental health benefits seen regardless of age or gender.
The study led by the Black Dog Institute revealed that regular exercise of any intensity can prevent future depression and just one hour can help.
Associate Professor Samuel Harvey from Black Dog Institute and the lead author of the research stated that they have 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," he said.
The professor added that the findings were exciting because they showed that even relatively small amounts of exercise from one hour per week can deliver significant protection against depression.
The result highlights 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," he said.
Findings from the research also 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.