New Evidence Shows how Exercise fits Depression

Older woman on a yoga mat, leaning against a yoga ball, smilingIf you still think physical exercise is only good for the body, then check out this latest research that adds to the evidence about mental health.

The Journal of American Medical Association’s Psychiatry journal just published an analysis of 15 studies involving 190,000 people to learn more about how exercise lowers depression.

Here are some key findings:

  • Just 1.25 hours of brisk walking weekly lowers the risk of depression by 18%.
  • Doubling that amount of time lowers it by 25%. This is the amount of time recommended by the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control as the minimum amount of exercise needed, along with two sessions of resistance training.
  • Benefits were strongest among people who previously didn’t exercise at all.

Four years ago, another study found that people who exercised had 43% fewer days of mental health issues.

It suggested that exercising for 45 minutes three to five times a week was great for boosting mental health.

Even simple movements like doing chores and jogging lowered the risk of depression by an average of 10 percent among adolescents, yet another study found in 2020.

The evidence is clear. Regular exercise is good for you – body, soul, and MIND.


Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.

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