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Just Do It! Research Finds Exercise Improves Mental Health

October 16, 2018

Just Do It! Research Finds Exercise Improves Mental Health

A study of 1.2 million participants found exercise helped improve mental health.

We know that exercise is good for the body – and helps combat conditions like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. But, it turns out that exercise can also have an impact on a person’s mental health – regardless of age or gender.

A recent study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry found that among the 1.2 million people participating, those who had regular physical activity reported less “bad days” that those who didn’t exercise.

The sweet spot? Activity lasting 30-60 minutes, three to five times a week. The data supports government guidelines or 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

Team sports, cycling and aerobics seemed to have the strongest impact. The social aspect of these activities may increase their positive benefit on feeling isolated or depressed. But even childrearing and doing chores around the house will have a positive impact.

As we often find out, there can be too much of a good thing. If exercising becomes and obsession it can negatively impact other social or family relationships. “Doing exercise more than 23 times a month, or exercising for longer than 90-minute sessions is associated with worse mental health," noted one of the authors of the study.

“The connection between a sound mind and a sound body is not new, having first been preached by Greek philosophers some 2,400 years ago,” says Frank LoCastro, Director of Wellness at White Plains Hospital. “Exercise has been shown to positively affect your mood, your attitude and your outlook on life. This added benefit can help you to lead a less stressful, happier and more productive life not only where you work but also where you live and play.”

So, now you have a great reason to join members of White Plains Hospital at one of their many Wellness Walks & Events!