Exercising 3 to 5 times a week brings biggest mental health benefits

posted in: Route to wellness, Techniques | 0

A new large-scale U.S. study has found that people who exercise report having 1.5 fewer days of poor mental health a month compared to people who do not exercise.

However, working out too much could actually have the opposite effect.

Carried out by a team at Yale University, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Laureate Institute for Brain Research, along with the University of Oxford, UK, this is the largest observational study of its kind. It looked at more than 1.2 million people in the U.S. to investigate the influence of exercise type, frequency, duration, and intensity on mental health.

Participants were asked to complete surveys in 2011, 2013, and 2015, answering questions on their physical health, exercise behaviors, and their mental health, reporting on how many days they would rate it as ‘not good’ based on stress, depression and emotional problems.

The study did not take mental health disorders other than depression into account.

The researchers included 75 kinds of exercise in the study, from childcare, housework, lawn-mowing and fishing to cycling, running and skiing. They also took into account factors like age, gender, and previous diagnoses of depression.

On average, participants experienced 3.4 days of poor mental health a month. However, those who exercised reported 2 days of poor mental health each month — 1.5 fewer days than those who reported doing no exercise, and a reduction of 43.2 percent.




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