Bellevue Personal Training | Exercise = Good Mental Health

For the past handful of years research has alluded to the possibility that exercise is a good anti-depressant; in fact, being as good as taking an antidepressant. Enough research has now been done to conclusively declare that active people are nearly 45% less likely to have depressive symptoms than inactive people!

One in five adults (44.7 million people) has a mental illness. The mental health landscape is divided into categories: Any mental illness (AMI) and serious mental illness (SMI). AMI is described as ‘an emotional, mental or behavioral disorder with an impact ranging from no impairment to mild or moderate impairment’. SMI is a ‘behavioral, mental or emotional disorder that causes profound impairment and markedly interferes with one or more major life activities’.

It appears that young adults have the highest prevalence of AMI and SMI.

Using a variety of statistical measures, researchers asked a series of questions regarding exercise and its’ impact on mental health. Below are the results:

How effective is exercise in managing mental health problems? Out of the 12 million people surveyed, 852,068 adults associated exercise with 43.2% fewer self reported mental health burdens per month.

Are all types of exercise associated with improved mental health? A definitive yes! The strongest correlations were for those engaging in popular sports, followed by cycling, aerobic or gym exercise, and yoga or tai chi.

Is there an optimal session duration for improving mental health? Exercise sessions lasting between 30 and 60 minutes were best, with 45 minutes producing the best effect. Sessions longer than 90 minutes were less effective; exercising for more than 3 hours was associated with greater mental health burdens than not exercising at all!

Is there an optimal exercise frequency for reduced mental health burderns? Those that exercise 3 - 5 times a week had fewer mental health burdens than those who exercised less than 3 or more than 5 times a week. **More exercise is not necessarily better. Exercising more than 23 times a month was associated with worse mental health outcomes than not exercising at all.

Is there any specific exercise intensity associated with more favorable decreases in mental health burdens? Vigorous exercise is linked to better outcomes than either light or moderate exercise.

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