It is well known that exercise is important to maintain physical health, but new studies have shown that the benefits of exercise extend to mental health as well. Researchers looked at 15 existing studies that contain data on exercise and depression and have found a correlation between depression risk and physical activity. Even when someone wasn’t exercising as intensely or as often as advised by the US Department of Health and Human Services, there were still significant mental health benefits.

The 15 studies used, which included over 191,000 participants total, found that people who did half the recommended amount of physical activity had an 18% lower risk of depression, and people who did the full recommended amount of physical activity had a 25% lower risk of depression, when compared to adults with no activity. It also found that the activity did not need to be extremely strenuous – brisk walking for 2.5 hours per week resulted in lower risk of depression.

For more information on the study, read the full article on HealthDay: