Keeping the Black Dog at Bay
New research has found that even relatively small amounts of exercise can have a dramatic impact upon our wellbeing.
According a study conducted by the Black Dog Institute in Australia, just one hour of exercise per week could reduce cases of depression by 12%. Over 30,000 participants were monitored over the course of 11 years, for symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as their activity levels.
Associate Professor Samuel Harvey of the Black Dog Institute commented that, 'these findings are exciting because they show that even relatively small amounts of exercise – from one hour per week – can deliver significant protection against depression."
What is also encouraging is that the exercise can be spilt into smaller more manageable chunks without a loss in benefit. Making small changes to our daily routines can make a difference.
The belief is that exercise has such a positive impact because of its effect on us, not only physically, but also socially. Exercise combined with contact with others is, it seems, a potent combination. Anecdotally, this makes complete sense to me, and professionally too. Until relatively recently, large periods of our time were spent active and outdoors. We are born as social animals who crave the company of others. If we isolate ourselves from our environment and from those around us, we are likely to feel worse.
If we feel low, our default can often to be do just that - to retreat to a place we feel safe and protected. What is reassuring from this study is that any small step we take to get out, move and reach out to others will make a difference.
More information on the research can be found here: