Research published in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity shows that “walking has a statistically significant, large effect on the symptoms of depression in some populations.”
The researchers found eight relevant studies featuring a total of 341 people. Overall, the combined results of these trials suggested that walking reduced the symptoms of depression. However, the trials were small, and they varied in the types of people they included, the walking programmes they used and what they compared walking to. This limits the strength of the conclusions that can be drawn about the effects of walking in specific groups of people with depression.
However, this is not the first research to have suggested that physical activity is beneficial for depressive symptoms. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) currently recommends considering structured group physical activity programmes as a treatment option for some forms of depression.