The positive feeling felt all over your body after a great run or workout can be credited to the release of endorphins. However, it can do more than just make you feel better. It has been proven that exercising has a positive effect on your mental health. A study completed for The Lancet Psychiatry studied an astounding 1.2 million Americans aged 18 and above, asking individuals about their mental health history, exercise habits, and current state of mind.
Based on that study, Yale and Oxford researchers found that those who exercised had 40% better mental health than those who didn’t – no matter the age, physical fitness, or activity. Individuals responded that popular sports such as basketball or soccer had the most significant impact on their mental wellness. Even minimal exercise such as housekeeping saw a positive reflection on mental health. Researchers found that the frequency of exercise had a sweet spot as well: the more someone exercised, the better their mental health was – up until a certain point. The secret for a positive effect on mental health is exercising 30 to 60 minutes for three to five times a week. In this case, less is more.
Although exercising is beneficial towards mental health, it’s not a cure for mental issues of depression and anxiety. Individuals experiencing severe mental health issues should seek professional help immediately. However, exercising can open the door to a refreshed perspective on life while reaping the benefits of an active lifestyle.