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If you're exercising for the mental benefits and you're crunched for time, here's some good news: Regardless of age or gender, you need only one hour of exercise a week to decrease your depression risk.
This conclusion comes out of a large study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, which analyzed 11 years of data and 33,908 adults. According to the results, people who don't exercise at all are 44 percent more likely to develop depression than those who exercise for just an hour a week, and 12 percent of depression cases could be prevented by this single hour of exercise.
"We are still trying to determine exactly why exercise can have this protective effect, but we believe it is from the combined impact of the various physical and social benefits of physical activity,” said lead study author Samuel Harvey. “Most of the mental health benefits of exercise are realized within the first hour undertaken each week."
As the research surrounding exercise grows, one thing is becoming clear: If you want to be healthier, you don't need much exercise to make it happen. Another large study published last month found that 150 minutes of exercise per week is all it takes to live longer, and in this case, walking and housework counts as exercise.
So the next time you're tempted to claim you're "too busy" to exercise, just remember: One hour makes all the difference.
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