Want to get outside your head for a bit? Get up out of that chair.
A study published in JAMA Psychiatry has found that people who engage in physical activity during their leisure time are 16% less likely to have depression. Researchers followed 11,135 people born in 1958 until they turned fifty, recording both their levels of physical activity and depression symptoms. They found that each additional instance of physical activity per week reduced odds of depression by 6%.
“Assuming the association is causal, leisure time physical activity has a protective effect against depression. If an adult between their twenties and forties who isn’t physically active became active three times per week, they would reduce their risk of depression by approximately 16%,” says Dr. Snehal Pinto Pereira of the UCL Institute of Child Health, lead author of the study.
“Importantly, this effect was seen across the whole population and not just in those at high risk of clinical depression. The more physically active people were, the fewer depressive symptoms they reported. Just as someone might be a little overweight but not clinically overweight or obese, many people who are not clinically depressed could still experience some depressive symptoms.”
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