Moderate exercise has positive effect on mental health, study says

Engaging in exercises such as cycling, aerobics and gymming for more than three hours a day can worsen mental health than not exercising at all, a study has found. The ideal amount of exercise was found to be from three to five 45-minute sessions a week, but more exercise was not always found to be better for your mental health.

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.

“I think it makes sense”, said Adam Chekroud, study author and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University.

However, the study suggested that overworking oneself in exercises would lead to worse mental health.

“Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and there is an urgent need to find ways to improve mental health through population health campaigns”, said Dr. Chekroud.

The results were adjusted for age, race, gender, marital status, income, education, employment status, body mass, self-reported physical health and previous diagnosis of depression. “We are now using this to try and personalise exercise recommendations, and match people with a specific exercise regime that helps improve their mental health”.

The study, published Wednesday in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, analyzed responses from a large sample of 1.2 million American adults who participated in a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

The research included data from 1.2 million people across the US who estimated how often in the past 30 days they would rate their mental health as “not good” based on stress, depression and emotional problems. How exercise affects an individual’s mental health? Those who exercised reported 1.5 fewer days of a struggle, which is a reduction of 43.2 percent.

“Certainly, the results suggest that exercising every day is associated with worse mental health”.

On average, participants had 3.4 days of poor mental health a month. A new study verifies an already widely-held belief that exercising moderately has a positive effect on mental health. “Doing exercise more than 23 times a month, or exercising for longer than 90 minute sessions is associated with worse mental health“.