We all get the point that exercise is good for us - but how good, exactly? Aside from the obvious benefits, it's supposed to help lift our mood and ward off depression, especially if done vigorously enough.
But this appears to be yet another urban myth, according to a new study. Researchers tested out the theory on groups of 5,952 twins aged between 18 and 50. While all the twins exercised to some extent, the twin who exercised more wasn't any less anxious or depressed than his less exercised sibling.
The researchers were unable to prove a direct causal association between the extent of exercise and depression. At best, they say, it's possible that people who exercise more are less depressed and anxious, but this could be down to more of a 'get-up-and-go' attitude to life.
(Source: Archives of General Psychiatry, 2008; 65: 897-905).