An hour of exercise a week can kill depression
The results, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, showed that people of all ages can gain mental health benefits from even small amounts of exercise.
The team found that 12 per cent of cases of depression could have been prevented if participants undertook just one hour of physical activity each week.
"We've known for some time that exercise has a role to play in treating symptoms of depression, but this is the first time we have been able to quantify the preventative potential of physical activity in terms of reducing future levels of depression," said lead author Samuel Harvey, Associate Professor at Black Dog Institute and University of New South Wales in Australia.
"If we can find ways to increase the population's level of physical activity even by a small amount, then this is likely to bring substantial physical and mental health benefits," Harvey added.