According to one study, exercise greatly improves our perceived mental health, which could have a direct influence on mood and personal care-related behaviors, for example.
New Exercise and mental health are two factors directly related to each other . According to numerous studies, exercise can help manage mental health problems or increase personal well-being. On the other hand, a recent study confirms a hypothesis that should serve as a warning: too much exercise can compromise mental health.
Thanks to the largest observational study conducted so far on the relationship between exercise and mental health, it has been concluded that people who play sports have fewer mental health problems . On average, 1.5 days less per month. In addition, team sports, such as cycling, aerobics and going to the gym, were found to be associated with greater well-being. This study was conducted by researchers from the University of Yale in New Haven, Connecticut (United States).
The goal is to better understand how exercise affects a person’s mental health. Efforts have also been made to establish the best physical activities to achieve an emotional impulse. Researchers also wondered when exercise becomes excessive. The article containing this and other findings has been published in The Lancet Psychiatry magazine.
“Exercise is associated with better mental health in people, regardless of age, race, gender, family income and educational level,” says lead author of the Zobuz, Dr. Barry Lachey. Lachey also explains: “details of the distribution of exercise, as well as the type, duration and frequency, played an important role in this association. We are now building on this to try to tailor recommendations for physical activity and to bring people together with a specific exercise regimen that helps improve mental health.
Relationship between exercise and mental health
Scientists have found that exercising 45 minutes 3 to 5 times a week produces greater benefits. It refers to any type of physical activity, such as taking care of children, doing household chores , cutting grass, fishing, cycling, going to the gym, running and skiing. We know that sport reduces the risk of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes and, therefore, mortality. But the relationship with mental health is not yet completely clear, in fact the results obtained are contradictory.
Although some tests suggest that exercise improves mental health, the reverse is also true. For example, inactivity could be a symptom and a contributing factor to poor mental health, while activity could be a sign or factor contributing to resilience. The authors report that the study cannot determine what is the cause and what the effect. The study authors used data from 1.2 million adults from 50 states in the United States. People who participated in the investigation of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 2011, 2013 and 2015. The data used were demographic, information on physical, mental health and behaviors regarding Health. The study did not consider other mental disorders besides depression.
In addition, they were asked how often they had exercised in the past 30 days outside of regular work, how many times per week or month they had been doing sports and for how long. All results were adapted for age, race, sex, marital status, income, educational level, working condition, body mass index, self-declared physical health and prior diagnosis of depression. On average, participants experienced 3.4 days per month of poor mental health. Compared to people who reported that they had not exercised, people who had done it instead reported 1.5 days less mental health each month,
Fewer days of poor mental health were more frequent for people who had a prior diagnosis of depression . In this case, exercise showed 3.75 days less mental health, a reduction of 34.5% (7.1 days for people who had physical activity before 10.9 days of those who had been more sedentary). All these activities have been associated with better mental health. But the researchers observed in group sports, therefore cycling, aerobics and gymnastics, the strongest associations for all participants. A reduction in the days of mental illness of 22.3%, 21.6% and 20.1% respectively. Carrying out household chores also improved (about 10% fewer days of bad mental health, or about half a day less per month). The relationship between exercise and better mental health was greater than that between mental health and other social or demographic factors (a 43.2% reduction in poor mental health). For example, people with university education had 17.8% fewer days of good mental health than people without education. People with normal body mass index had 4% less than obese people. Also, people with incomes above $ 50,000 showed around 17% less than people with lower incomes.
Exercise and mental health: a not always winning combination
Frequency and time spent exercising are also important factors. People who exercised between three and five times a week claimed to have better mental health than those who did less or more exercise during the week (which is associated with about 2.3 days less of poor mental health than people exercising only twice a month).
Playing sports for 30-60 minutes has been linked to a greater reduction in bad mental health days (associated with approximately 2.1 fewer days of poor mental health than people who had not done sports). People who did sports for more than 90 minutes a day instead showed minimal reductions. Exercising for more than three hours a day has been associated with poor mental health.
The researchers argue that data on the relationship between team sports and better mental health may indicate that social activities promote resilience and reduce depression with the consequent reduction of social isolation, giving social sports an advantage over others.
People have used self-assessment of their mental health and exercise levels. Therefore, we talk about perceived mental health and not objective mental health. In addition, the research asked participants only for the main form of exercise. There may, therefore, be a good amount of uncontrolled variability if we consider people who do more than one physical activity.