A new study has found that people, who employ their leisurely time by doing exercise regularly, are less threatened of getting affected with depression and anxiety, which cannot be offset by physical activity involved in day to day life.
The study was carried out by collaborative efforts of researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, academics from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the University of Bergen in Norway. It involved 40,000 Norwegians and the findings appeared in the British Journal of Psychiatry.
The researchers suggest that exercising during free time also promotes social interaction, which could be the reason of alleviating depression and anxiety symptoms.
The participants of the study were asked about their frequency and level of exercising during their leisurely time and during their normal working hours. The extent of depression and anxiety in the participants were measured by employing the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.
It was discovered that those people, who remained inactive during their free time possessed twice the chances of having symptoms of depression in comparison to their counterparts, who were active during their leisurely time. No impact was found of degree of exercise on mental state.
The researchers also found that those who were active during their free time, also bestowed with social benefits such as increase in the numbers of friends and social support. Also, they better understood the importance of exercise for improving mental health.
"Exercise gives you a natural high and is a great way to boost your mood", said Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of the mental health charity Mind.