For a mental health boost, you may need only about an hour of exercise per week! A recent Australian study has shown many cases of depression could be prevented if you exercise for just an hour and it doesn’t have to be intense. People in the study seemed to have mental health benefits regardless of exercise intensity. Of course, this minimal amount of exercise does not satisfy the weekly recommendations for the cardiovascular and overall health of 150 minutes of medium to high-intensity exercise. Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms. But smaller amounts of physical activity — as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time — may make enough of a difference to experience positive results. In addition to the physical benefits, the social benefits play a role in helping prevent depression, as well. It’s also possible that exercise may trigger changes in self-esteem, the release of mood-boosting endorphins, and the production of certain proteins. They claim there is good evidence that exercise can help people recover from depression, not just prevent it, and they recommend it being used in addition to the usual treatments prescribed for depression, like medication and counseling.
Megan DeLuca, MEd, CPT