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  • Getting just 20 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week may significantly lower the risk of depression in adults over 50, according to a new study.
  • The findings suggest people in this age group can reap benefits from getting less exercise than the amount recommended by the World Health Organization.
  • The findings don’t apply to all adults; those with chronic conditions, like diabetes or lung disease, may require more exercise each week to see the same results, according to the study.

People over 50 who exercise for at least 20 minutes five times a week may have a lower risk of depression than those who don’t, a new study has found.1
Laird E, Rasmussen CL, Kenny RA, Herring MP. Physical activity dose and depression in a cohort of older adults in The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing.The research, published earlier this month in JAMA Network Open, suggests older adults may see significant health benefits from moderate exercise, even if they don’t hit the target recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) of getting in at least five 30-minute workouts each week.2

“We were trying to figure out: What is the bare minimum dose of physical activity you need for depression?” Eamon Laird, PhD, a lifestyle health researcher at the University of Limerick and the first study author of the new paper, told Health.

“Currently, it’s [thought to be] 30 minutes per day, and that can be quite hard for people to do,” he said. “That’s the reason we wanted to investigate this.”

Knowing the benefits of shorter workouts may help more people prioritize exercise, Susan Albers-Bowling, PsyD, a psychologist at Cleveland Clinic, told Health.

“Exercise can be like a magic wand to your mental and physical health,” she said. “But although we know it is great for our mental health, a lot of people struggle to do it.”

The new findings suggest that benefits only go up when people over 50 exercise more than 20 minutes a day; the study authors wrote that the risk of depressive symptoms continued to decrease as time spent exercising increased.1

The research team also noted that people with certain chronic diseases—such as diabetes, lung disease, osteoporosis, and liver disease, among others—may need to exercise more than people without those diseases to reap the same mental health benefits.1

Below, experts explain the connection between movement and mental health, as well as how to figure out how much exercise is right for you.

Check out the original article here! 

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