(HealthDay News) – Physical activity, even at low levels, may prevent depression, according to a review published in the November issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

George Mammen and Guy Faulkner, PhD, from the University of Toronto, conducted a systematic review of prospective-based longitudinal studies that examined the correlation between physical activity and depression. Thirty studies were included for analysis.

The researchers found that 25 of the studies showed a negative correlation between baseline physical activity and the risk of subsequent depression. Most of these studies were of high methodological quality. Evidence suggests that any level of physical activity, including low levels (such as walking for <150 minutes per week), can prevent future depression.

“The evidence is sufficient to conclude that physical activity may prevent depression,” the authors write. “At the least, current guidelines for physical activity, established for physical health benefits, appear equally appropriate for preventing depression.”

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)