Good news all you exercise fanatics.
Researchers have found that the more people engage in physical activity, even very light exercise, during their spare time, the less likely they are to be depressed.
Surprisingly, the study showed that people who exert themselves at work by doing lots of walking or lifting are no less likely to be depressed than people with sedentary jobs.
People who were inactive during their leisure time were almost twice as likely to have symptoms of depression, compared with the most active individuals.
lead author of the study, said the findings underlined the importance of the context in which exercise was taken.
“Our study shows that people who engage in regular leisure time activity of any intensity are less likely to have symptoms of depression,” he said.
“We also found that the context in which activity takes place is vital and that the social benefits associated with exercise, like increased numbers of friends, are more important in understanding how exercise may be linked to improved mental health than any biological markers of fitness.
“This may explain why leisure activity appears to have benefits not seen with physical activity undertaken as part of a working day.”