According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 10 US adults report being depressed. The most common treatments for depression include medication and therapy, although exercise has also been found to be a helpful treatment. Taking this concept one step further, in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers reviewed 30 studies on the effects of moderate exercise for the prevention of depression and found that 25 of these studies demonstrated that an increase in physical activity was associated with a decreased risk of subsequently developing depression.

“This review shows promising evidence that the impact of being active goes far beyond the physical,” stated George Mammen, lead researcher. With the ever-rising sea of health-care costs, a preventive strategy for depression—and really any health condition or disorder—is crucial. “We need a prevention strategy now more than ever. Our health system is taxed. We need to shift focus and look for ways to fend off depression from the start.”

I recommend regular physical activity for a number of reasons. Not only will your mental health benefit, but your stress levels will fall, your risk of many chronic diseases will drop, your weight will decrease, and your digestion will improve. If those aren’t good reasons to get moving, I don’t know what are. Regular exercise has been an integral part of my own life for many, many years. I make time for it because I know how important it is to my health. I hope that you will make the time for it, too.