Working out comes with all kinds of benefits, from helping to manage weight to improving sleep and boosting your mood. It can even help keep depression at bay and new research reveals it takes a lot less time than you’d think to do that.

Researchers wanted to figure out how much exercise you’d need to do to see mental health benefits, specifically lowering depressive symptoms. Using data from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging, they found that doing just 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, like brisk walking, is all it takes. Doing that for five days a week is associated with a 16% lower rate of depressive symptoms and a 43% lower risk of major depression.

But it gets even better, as the more participants worked out, the more benefits they felt. Those who worked out for longer amounts of time had a bigger reduction in depression risk and depressive symptoms. Study authors make a point that they’re not encouraging people to work out less, but if you’re not exercising at all and you’re struggling with low mood or depressive symptoms, those 20 minutes a day can make a big difference.

Source: Mind Body Green

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