Many of us teenagers love to spend our free time using our phones, or playing on our gaming consoles, or watching videos on youtube (myself included). And that’s great; these are all incredible ways to de-stress after a long day. But oftentimes, the problem occurs when these take over all of our free time (i.e. leaving us no time to go outside and get some physical activity and exercise). Recent research has shown that young people who are often physically inactive have a higher chance of expressing depressive symptoms by age 18. It doesn’t even have to be extensive physical activity, even a light jog or any activity for over an hour would suffice.

The researchers tracked a group of around 4,200 teenagers during their teenage years starting at age 12. The children, who were all wearing accelerators to help measure their physical activity, were monitored at ages 12, 14 and 16. The results indicated that every hour of additional physical activity decreased depressive symptoms (low mood, loss of pleasure, poor concentration) by between 8-11%. In fact, the adolescents with the highest inactivity had depression scores over 28% more than other children who were getting physical exercise. This once again indicates a clear correlation between physical activity and depressive symptoms.

The results of this study are especially important now during quarantine and isolation, as many of our gyms and physical activity centers are shut down. But on the other hand, with so much more free time available at our hands, it is important that we spend at least an hour everyday getting the exercise that our body needs. Take a jog, do some push-ups and sit-ups, or play basketball in your backyard. These will not only help everyone stay healthy, but will play an important role in keeping us upbeat and less prone to suffering from depression.