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Exercise boosts Mental Health But Not When You Overdo It

By jeremyc | August 9, 2018

While growing up, you might have heard these words several times: too much of everything else is bad. New research confirms this is true even for exercise. Latest research confirms the findings of previous studies that exercise boosts mental health, but it also cautioned that too much of exercise can have a negative impact on the health.

Depression is a huge public health concern. Millions of people in the U.S. are living with depression. Given the fact that depression is so common and on the rise, health experts agree that there’s a strong need to do whatever possible to prevent it and alleviate it symptoms.

One such thing is staying physically active. Previous studies have shown that physical exercise reduces the risk of depression. But whether there’s anything like too much exercise for mental health was one thing they didn’t check.

The researchers who did the latest study took up this question. They also set out to find if certain exercises are better at dispelling depression than others.

This study was the largest of its kind, involving 1.2 million individuals. All the participants provided data regarding their physical activity levels and poor mental health.

The average number of poor mental health days reported by the participants was 3.4 days. People who exercised, however, reported 1.5 fewer poor mental health days than those who didn’t.

The researchers also checked how exercise affected people who had depression. Among depression-sufferers, the exercise group had 3.75 fewer poor days compared to those who didn’t exercise.

In short, exercise is good for mental health for all. The researchers also noted that all kinds of exercise, and this included doing household chores, were beneficial for mental health.

However, certain exercises were linked with greater mental health benefits. These were team sports, aerobic exercise, gym exercises, and cycling.

In addition, the researchers also noted that participants who were physically active for half-an-hour to one hour 3-5 times a week benefited most.

On the other hand, people who exercised for more than 3 hours showed poorer mental health than people who weren’t physically active.

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