London: A new research suggests that people with depression could benefit from regular physical activity — but only if it`s in their leisure time.
People who take regular exercise during their free time are less likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety, according to researchers in the UK and Norway.
However, they said physical activities at work do not count, reports the BBC.
Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, King`s College London, teamed up with colleagues from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the University of Bergen in Norway, to carry out the study on 40,000 Norwegian residents.
The study found that individuals who took part in regular physical activity during their spare time were less likely to have symptoms of depression.
"Our study shows that people who engage in regular leisure-time activity of any intensity are less likely to have symptoms of depression,” said lead researcher Dr Samuel Harvey.
"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 and social support, are more important in understanding how exercise may be linked to improved mental health than any biological markers of fitness,” he added.
"This may explain why leisure activity appears to have benefits not seen with physical activity undertaken as part of a working day," Harvey said.
The findings are published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.