One in nine cases of depression could be prevented if all members of the population exercised at recommended levels, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry in April.
Recommended physical activity levels for this study were two and a half hours per week of brisk walking.
Adults meeting the recommended levels had lower risks of depression compared to adults that did no physical activity. Even exercising below the public health recommendations was shown to help with depression, according to the study.
The study involved a review and analysis of 15 prospective studies that included data from more than 191,000 people.
Compared to adults who reported doing no activity, adults who completed half the recommended activity level had an 18 percent lower risk of depression. Adults who achieved the full recommended activity level had a 25 percent lower risk of depression compared to adults who did no physical activity, according to the study.
The study authors concluded that if less active adults had achieved the current physical activity recommendations, 11.5 percent of depression cases could have been prevented.