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Gym your way to joy

health-and-fitness Updated: Nov 15, 2010 01:12 IST

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Prone to depression and stress? Get on an exercise bike and ride away from your stresses, says a study. Researchers have found that people who take part in regular exercises could almost halve their risk of depression — but the boost to mental health works only if the activity is undertaken during leisure time and is fun. Don’t make exercise serious.

According to lead researcher Dr Samuel Harvey of King's College London, workout reduces stress and should be more widely prescribed as a treatment to tackle depressive or anxiety disorders, the Daily Express reported.

ExerciseThe researchers found that the more people engaged in physical activity the less likely they were to be depressed. Activities like playing outdoor games, brisk walks and biking helps a lot in easing you off from any sort of burden.

Those who're not active in their spare time were almost twice as likely to have symptoms of depression. The intensity of the exercise didn't seem to make any difference. Even people who indulged in light exercise, without breaking into a sweat or getting out of breath, were less likely to show symptoms of depression.

The researchers looked at more than 40,000 Norwegians for the survey.