Does exercise actually improve your mental health?

Are you doing too much exercise

Among people who had been diagnosed previously with depression, exercise appeared to have a larger effect, resulting in seven days of poor mental health a month compared with almost 11 days for those who did no exercise.

The investigators found that cycling, team-oriented sports, and aerobic exercise are beneficial for mental health.

On the other hand, the researchers discovered that more exercise is not always better.

75 types of exercises were reported which were all associated with improved mental health.

The Lancet Psychiatry journal said that exercising for 45 minutes three to five times a week was associated with the biggest benefits.

"The most heartwarming result was that even walking was associated with reduction in mental health burden", Adam Chekroud, author of the study and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University, said in an interview.

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The study focused on previous diagnoses of depression, gender, and age along with the type of exercise effectuated. How exercise affects an individual's mental health?

"Excitingly, the specifics of the regime, like the type, duration, and frequency, played an important role in this association". Those who exercised reported 1.5 fewer days of a struggle, which is a reduction of 43.2 percent.

He said the positive impact of team sports suggested that social sports activities could reduce isolation and be good for resilience, while also reducing depression. Participants reported how many days they classed their mental health as not good, and how often they performed exercises outside of work.

The physical benefits of exercise are indisputable, with a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and strokes all linked to regular workouts, and there is growing body of research that suggests the effect it can have on your mental health is considerable as well. Experts note that the relationship could go both ways for exercise improving mental health - with inactivity being both a symptom of, and contributor to, poor mental health.

For the findings, the researchers used participants' mental and physical health, as well as their demographic information, and health-related behaviors. Exercising on more than 23 days a month and in sessions lasting 90 minutes or more were actually associated with worse mental health.

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