The study, conducted by an international research team led by Australia’s Black Dog Institute, was published in the “American Journal of Psychiatry.” The findings show for the first time that even a relatively low amount of exercise can provide considerable protection against depression.
The research group now wants to examine more closely why exercise has this protective effect. The working hypothesis suggests that this effect is attributable to a combination of different physical and social benefits.
Data from a Norwegian health study was analyzed for this study. From 1984 to 1997, it was observed how regularly and intensively the participants in the study engaged in physical activity. In addition, the test subjects completed a questionnaire on anxiety and depression.
Participants who responded that they do not exercise had a 44 percent higher probability of suffering from depression than those who reported exercising for one to two hours per week. Since cases of depression are increasing worldwide, these research results can be of critical significance.