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Physical activity lowers one’s risk of developing depression. This is a consensus derived from countless studies. Recently, a team of scientists attempted to determine just how little exercise makes a difference.

Synthesizing the results of 15 studies, a group from the University of Cambridge found that a difference starts to kick in at about half of the World Health Organization’s recommended minimum for weekly physical activity and the benefits do not increase much once you reach the full amount.

The researchers, publishing their findings this month in JAMA Psychiatry, compiled 15 preexisting studies in which participants’ activities and health outcomes were measured over a median of 8.5 years. In total, the meta-analysis included data from 191,130 people.

Accumulating an activity volume equivalent to just over 1 hour of brisk walking per week is associated with 18 percent lower risk of depression compared with no activity. And if you feel like pushing it to 2.5 hours per week (or 20 minutes a day), the number is 25 percent. Only minor additional benefits were observed at higher activity levels.

Source: Inverse