Physical activities like gardening could be linked to a 23% reduction in the risk of depression, according to new findings.

The umbrella review of several studies also found that low and moderate exercise could cut the risk of anxiety, psychosis and schizophrenia by up to 27%.

The researchers said that the findings, which were published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, provided more evidence that physical activity is good for mental health.

However, they added that high-intensity exercise could “worsen stress-related responses”.

Hereford Times: Light exercise could reduce the risk of depression by 23%Light exercise could reduce the risk of depression by 23% (Image: Getty)

Lead author Lee Smith, professor of public health at Anglia Ruskin University, said: “Preventing mental health complications effectively has emerged as a major challenge, and an area of paramount importance in the realm of public health.

“These conditions can be complex and necessitate a multi-pronged approach to treatment, which may encompass pharmacological interventions, psychotherapy and lifestyle changes.

“These effects of physical activity intensity on depression highlight the need for precise exercise guidelines.”

The study looked at data from more than four million people and assessed the link between physical activities like gardening and depression.

More than 95,000 people were assessed to find the link between exercise and mental health issues like anxiety, psychosis and schizophrenia


Hereford Times: The results were found to be consistent between men and womenThe results were found to be consistent between men and women (Image: Getty)

These findings were found to be consistent between men and women across different age groups.

Prof Smith added: “Moderate exercise can improve mental health through biochemical reactions, whereas high-intensity exercise may worsen stress-related responses in some individuals.

“Acknowledging differences in people’s response to exercise is vital for effective mental health strategies, suggesting any activity recommendations should be tailored for the individual.

“The fact that even low to moderate levels of physical activity can be beneficial for mental health is particularly important, given that these levels of activity may be more achievable for people who can make smaller lifestyle changes without feeling they need to commit to a high-intensity exercise programme.”